Bless Me, Father

Bless Me, Father

by Mark Kriegel
     
 

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Reminiscent of the work of Pete Dexter, this stunning novel of crime, vengeance, and redemption, set on New York City's meanest streets, revolves around one desperate man who will do anything to regain his honor—and another who will do anything to save his soul. Frank Battaglia is a swaggering soldier of the Mafia, greedy for the power generations of…  See more details below

Overview

Reminiscent of the work of Pete Dexter, this stunning novel of crime, vengeance, and redemption, set on New York City's meanest streets, revolves around one desperate man who will do anything to regain his honor—and another who will do anything to save his soul. Frank Battaglia is a swaggering soldier of the Mafia, greedy for the power generations of thugs have taken as their right and compelled by an inner demon to rip away the shame that surrounds him like a shroud. As a young fighter, Frank fell apart in the ring at Madison Square Garden, a humiliation witnessed by the most powerful gangster in the city. In Frank's eyes, only one person can salvage his reputation: his son Nicky. Life, however, is not as Frank envisions it. The Village, once the unquestioned fiefdom of the Mob, has gone sour on him, turned into a haven for yuppies. And Nicky, devastated by the suicide of his older brother, wants only to play basketball, lose his virginity, and listen to sweet soul music, his brother's legacy to him. His father's plan to make him a champion in the boxing ring and on the streets repels and horrifies him. But when the gangland-style murder of the city's last great Mafia don puts Frank on the front pages of the tabloids, Nicky discovers a terrible truth about his father—and the truth about what it means to be a tough guy in the nightmare universe of New York's underground. Resounding with the authentic voices of New York City and pounding to the beat of the streets, Bless Me, Father is a gritty, chilling portrait of what life is really like in the Mafia, where men are sacrificed, destroyed, and, sometimes, made whole in the name ofhonor.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
New York Daily News columnist Kriegel makes a tightly written, fast-paced fiction debut with this novel about a mob lieutenant who witnesses the effects of betrayal and retribution on himself and his sons. Frank Battaglia is a brutal wiseguy, a throwback who laments the passing of the days when lower Manhattan was a mob stronghold. His problems start when he murders his boss in order to move up in the ranks but leaves alive a witness whom the tabloids dub the ``mystery blonde.'' When a clever detective picks up the case and begins leaking details to an aging columnist seeking to relive his glory days, the noose slowly tightens around Frank's neck. Meanwhile, in a convergent subplot, Frank's adolescent son, Nicky, seeks to break free from his father's world after his rebellious brother ends his conflict with their stubborn, willful parent by committing suicide. Using Frank's attempts to teach Nicky to box as a vehicle to explore family conflicts, Kriegel weaves a tangled web of drama and intrigue, complete with a surprise ending that packs a nice punch. The author also scores heavily with the gritty authenticity of his Manhattan and New Jersey settings and his well-drawn cast. Mob novels may be a dime a dozen, but this one, heralding the arrival of an unusually talented author, is well worth its full cover price. (Mar.)
Library Journal
This first novel is not your average, violence-ridden Mafia story but something far more subtle. Kriegel's viable, fleshed-out characters live in the world of the New York City Mafiosi, but it is a changing world where crack dealers are crowding out the dons in the newspaper columns. Nicky Battaglia, the son of mob enforcer Frank Battaglia, is forced by his father to learn to box because, in Frank's words, "boxing builds character." Nicky would rather play basketball, and his tutelage as a boxer is seemingly fruitless, as the father seeks to redeem himself-a failure in his own boxing career-through the son. Yet Frank misses in his mob career as well, for he is arrested for murdering his own boss. A host of minor characters, none superfluous, help make this novel stand out. Recommended for most popular collections.-David Dodd, Univ. of Colorado at Colorado Springs

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780425155745
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date:
12/01/1996
Pages:
1
Product dimensions:
4.28(w) x 7.10(h) x 0.95(d)

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