April 1960. On prom night, JOE CLARK and SUE ANDRETTI, a heartthrob couple, had their dreams crushed in a car accident caused by three members of Chicago’s mafia. Sue died instantly. Joe received severe head injuries and lived in a coma for weeks, his right leg crushed; doctors assumed he’d never walk without a cane. HELEN CLARK, mother of Joe, feared for her son’s life, but also feared that he’d want revenge for Sue’s death if he survived. As a child, Joe was a constant source ...
April 1960. On prom night, JOE CLARK and SUE ANDRETTI, a heartthrob couple, had their dreams crushed in a car accident caused by three members of Chicago’s mafia. Sue died instantly. Joe received severe head injuries and lived in a coma for weeks, his right leg crushed; doctors assumed he’d never walk without a cane.
HELEN CLARK, mother of Joe, feared for her son’s life, but also feared that he’d want revenge for Sue’s death if he survived. As a child, Joe was a constant source of worry and heartache for his mother. His quick temper landed him in a boy’s prison, where he survived the harsh environment with help from his cell mate and friend, JIMMY ROBBINS, a Negro from Chicago.
Joe found BROWNIE, a hundred pound mixed breed dog, in a ditch across the road from the Clark farm on a cold, rainy Sunday morning. Their bond could never be broken.
In the spring of 1956, two weeks before eighth grade graduation, Joe, with (Sue’s encouragement), asked Sue to go to their Graduation dance. Unfortunately, many women in the community envied Sue’s mother and feared losing their men to her. Rumors circulated that the widowed RENE ANDRETTI had broken up several marriages. Helen Clark believed these rumors and despised Sue and her mother because of them. Joe ignored his mother’s wishes and fell in love with Sue.
Joe’s grandfather, his mentor, died a few months after a bolt of lightning struck Joe’s father. Joe tried to fight off the hurt, but his dreams quickly disappeared. He told his mother he wanted to leave the farm. Helen Clark, distraught and defeated, sold the farm. Joe’s only salve against his anguish was his girlfriend, Sue, who did what she could to comfort him.
And now, Sue was dead. When Joe woke from his coma, heart filled with hate, Helen asked him to forget. He could not. He saw reminders of his loss everywhere. Even his physical therapist was related to the top hit man of Chicago’s mafia, the Capuanos.
Recovery became a grueling task, but Joe fought through it, keeping his thoughts inside him. Brownie became Joe’s crutch; retaliation his motivation. Six months after leaving the hospital, Joe could run again, but with pain.
Joe contacted Jimmy Robbins by letter asking for his help in seeking revenge against the Capuanos. Since the Capuanos had Jimmy’s sister locked in their criminal web, he also sought vengeance. Again, Joe’s mother rejected the only close friend Joe had.
In spite of his physical and emotional wounds, Joe fell in love again. This time with a young woman named BERNICE. Her high spirits set her apart from Sue, but they shared the same affection toward Joe. Her love was the one peaceful thing Joe could rely on while he pursued his vengeance; her love calmed his hate.
The Capuanos discovered Joe’s plans for revenge and wanted him dead. Joe used lessons he had learned from his grandpa and the cunning skills of Brownie to fend them off. Joe grew further and further away from his simple dreams; the violence wore at him making him ill. He tried to get away from it, but it followed him. He knew he had to finish the Capuanos before they finished him.
One Sunday morning, however, a rival gang did his job for him. The Capuanos died in their own nightclub, murdered by gangsters from St. Louis. Only one Capuano lived-the driver of the car that killed Sue. Fearing for his life, ALEX CAPUANO secluded himself in a hotel suite with two prostitutes.
With the help of Bernice, Jimmy, some of Jimmy’s friends from the ghetto, Joe and Brownie tracked the last Capuano down.
Joe busted into the room with his father's 12-gauge shotgun in his hands and Brownie by his side. The Capuano took cover in a crawl space above the bathtub, but Joe got his revenge.
Joe and Jimmy forced Alex Capuano to turn his dirty money over to the Jimmy Robbins Fund. The fund would help the people in the ghetto where Jimmy was raised. A hit man from the Capuano gang wanted the remaining Capuano dead because he had raped his daughter.