by Lorenzo Carcaterra
Category: Fiction / General
376 pages; ISBN: 034540100X
Rating: 6/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
Over the decades, powerful mob boss Angelo Vestieri has defeated many an enemy by insuring close ties with his allies. However, the ravages of time and illness have taken their toll and by 1996, Angelo lies dying in a hospital bed. His protege Gabe loves Angelo like a father. However, Gabe cannot stomach the "family" business that he does not want to lead.
Gabe thinks back to 1964 when as a ten-year-old he ran away from his latest foster parents and meets Angelo. The mob kingpin immediately sees something in the lad that he fails to observe in his own children. He "adopts" Gabe, whose job description includes number running and debt collection. Angelo instills values such as loyalty and honesty with one's friends in Gabe who truly loves his mentor. Gabe also hears stories about Angelo's coming to America at the beginning of the century and his rise as a crime boss. However, that does not mean the life of a GANGSTER is the lifestyle chosen by Gabe who wants to go straight.
GANGSTER is an excellent portrayal of the life of a mob kingpin. The story line is exciting and character driven as the audience sees deep inside Angelo and to a lesser degree, his family and Gabe. However, best-selling author Lorenzo Carcaterra could have provided a better character analysis of Gabe for genre fans. That way, they would have a better understanding of the schism that splits Gabe's soul between his loathing of the mob life and his intense love and loyalty for the man who embodies its value system.
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