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City Within A City

City Within A City

4.3 8
by Sherry Clark Thomas

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This is a story of an independent gangster named Joe Pastronoco (Joe, Jr.) aka Joe Thomas who was raised from childhood in a criminal environment. His father Joe, Sr., and his father's brother Salvatore were bootleggers during the 1900's and they both were gangsters involved in a secret organization similar to the Mafia in Italy when Benito Mussolini was dictator.


This is a story of an independent gangster named Joe Pastronoco (Joe, Jr.) aka Joe Thomas who was raised from childhood in a criminal environment. His father Joe, Sr., and his father's brother Salvatore were bootleggers during the 1900's and they both were gangsters involved in a secret organization similar to the Mafia in Italy when Benito Mussolini was dictator. Salvatore was shot and left for dead in Italy but he managed to escape, and he came to America as a stowaway, lived on a farm and sent for his brother Joe, Sr. who left Italy with his wife and five siblings to live with him.

The entire family ran an illegal bootlegging and numbers business at his farm during the Prohibition days. Joe, Jr. accepts his father's criminal lifestyle as an ordinary day, and under the influence of his father and uncle he gradually turns into a seasoned criminal. He becomes a drug dealer, runs a lucrative prostitution business, and he branches out into other crimes.

This tale takes on an astonishing turn of events with an unusual spiritual intervention that protects Joe throughout his life, and by some unknown spiritual means is recognized by his father at his birth and he names his son "The Chosen One."

City Within A City is going to give you a glimpse into the criminal mind and a terrifying insight of what prison life is really like. Raw, gripping, prison letters are exchanged by Joe and his last wife, Sherry, that are filled with deep emotional pain and humiliation.

Joe marries 9 times. Sherry Clark becomes his 6th and 9th wife. She is a woman who is blinded by love and endures abuse beyond belief by his hand and gives up her soul for the love of a man who gives her nothing in return.

It is not only a detailed account of a criminal lifestyle, but it is also a powerful and compelling love story.

Product Details

Outskirts Press, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
0.60(w) x 8.50(h) x 5.50(d)

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City Within A City 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
ApexReviews More than 1 year ago
City Within A City is a love story, but not your everyday, run of the mill love story. It is told from the point of view of Joe Thomas, a gangster, and the reader is taken on a journey of Joe¿s crimes, cruelty, and many marriages. Crime is what Joe is good at, and it¿s all he¿s ever known. As a child, he witnessed his father kill a man, and he was raped while staying at a reform school. All the bad that happened to Joe made him who he currently is. While spending time in jail, he exchanges love letters with his ninth wife, Sherry Clark, and they are filled with humiliation and pain. Joe ends up dying and having to wait for God¿s decision on whether to let him into heaven or send him down to hell.

City Within A City is a fast-paced book filled with action. Joe Thomas is capable of brutality and crimes that most people can¿t even imagine committing. Sherry Clark Thomas is a wonderful storyteller, and she threads together her late husband¿s life for the reader to get lost in. It¿s a unique and very enjoyable read, and interesting to learn more about Joe Thomas and figure out what makes him tick. City Within A City is the type of book that creeps up and stays with you long after you¿ve finished reading it. Highly recommended for all book lovers, especially those who enjoy gangster movies/books.

Brooke Carleton
Apex Reviews
Guest More than 1 year ago
Joe Thomas was a mean and bad guy. Sherry Clark Thomas tells the story of her late husband (they married each other twice: His sixth and ninth marriages and her second and fourth marriages) from his birth to death. The plot isn¿t spun of imagination. Joe Thomas did enough in his life that there story after story could be told. His life moved at a quick pace. The man did almost any crime that could be imaginable starting from helping his Italian immigrant father and uncle in the bootlegging business but later moving on to drug dealing, professional arson, drug smuggling, robbery, pimping ¿ and the guy was even a gigolo at times in his life. Joe Thomas was a petty criminal and a biggie all rolled into one. He had an immense capacity for cruelty to others, especially women, and he abandoned pretty much anyone who tried to plant roots in his life. Thus Sherry Clark Thomas¿s opening of the story where Joe¿s soul is waiting for God to make a decision (Which way for Joe? Up or down? Heaven or Hell?) seems in hindsight to be irrelevant. Assuming there is a reward in the afterlife then this cruel and bad man was clearly not deserving. City within a City moves along and for the most part the writing style is good. I found myself often compelled to feel empathy with Joe Thomas¿s victims but at other times they were deserving of what they got as well. If you play with a snake then don¿t be shocked when you are bitten. For my tastes there are two weaknesses in the story on technical and the other is style. For the technical there was an editing issue which is that who ever edited the book quite often got the quotation marks off in the wrong order. I found this rather distracting to tell the truth. The other was that the story in the end became a sad personal lamentation and rather than being a neutral storyteller, as Sherry Clark Thomas had been most of the book, she switched gears and bared her chest. The book ceased to be about Joe but rather Sherry¿s loss. I found this to put a real dampener at the finale. I also found the title to be ill fitting. Apparently ¿city with a city¿ is a term used by prisoners to refer to the prison itself. Most of the story though did not take place in a prison. That having been said, the book can be described as quite unique and an overall enjoyable read. I never learned to like Joe Thomas. He did some absolutely low class things in his life and really seemed to care for no one but himself. But his character flaws keep you interested in what¿s happening next. If you are interested in the life of a criminal then this is a very good book for you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
City Within A City. I can start by saying 'Wow'. From the moment you catch sight of the very striking cover art, until you complete the final chapter, this book is the most exciting, detailed and explicit view of both criminal life and of life itself that I have ever read. Those characters propelled the story and takes the reader into a world in which the underbelly of society and the mafia, with all of its eccentricities, rituals and sadistic behavior has a way of drawing the reader in, like a siren to the shore. It's wonderful translation, too mesmerizing to put down and so full of flavor, you want to read it again. As I am reading, I can just imagine this great read translating itself into a extraordinary movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The cover told me to buy the book. The contents told me I was happy I did. Written from a different viewpoint from any I ever read before about organized crime, the story was entertaining. Although Joe, was not an actual member of The Mafia, he was still a gangster. I never give five star ratings but this is as close as you can get without giving one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This story is full of emotions and every character in this book has a most interesting interaction with the main character,Joe. When you read about this man, you are going to shake your head because you are not going to be able to keep up with your own emotions on what you really think of him as a person. There is not many books that I have read where I love/hate a character at the same time in a story. This guy was worth the money I paid for the book. I loved this book, it was descriptive, well written and the end of this story just blew me away. It is a must read. I would not trade this book for a good football game. It is that good. The cover is spectacular. Wow!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed City Within a City-A Gangster¿s Story. Joe, the main character was one of the best bad guys I¿ve seen in a long time. I followed him in his every move as if I was there. It¿s amazing how someone so heartless and cruel could be so likeable. You almost feel guilty for admiring his style. Overall, I think it was a good read raw and uncut, a true Gangster¿s story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Outstandig ,I could not put the book down after I started reading it.Real sensual also. IT WAS GREAT!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an exciting book. I couldn't read fast enough so I could find out what was going to happen next. You hated the man, you loved the man, you were mesmerized by the man. And of course your heart goes out to the heroine, Sherry. A shocking insight of life in prison. Makes you think twice before doing something unlawful. Highly recommended for some exciting reading. It has everything. Romance! Tragedy! Intrique!