Road to Purgatoryby Max Allan Collins
Twenty-two year-old Michael O'Sullivan returns from the second World War with a medal of honor, a glass
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From Max Allan Collins, 2017 Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Honoree for a Lifetime of Excellence in Mystery Writing comes the brilliant sequel to Road to Perdition, his masterpiece of crime fiction that became both a literary and cinematic classic.
Twenty-two year-old Michael O'Sullivan returns from the second World War with a medal of honor, a glass eye, and the violent skills necessary to avenge his family, who were gunned down by the Chicago mob when he was a child. O'Sullivan becomes mobster Frank Nitti's trusted chauffer...and an undercover operative for federal agent Eliot Ness...but even as he seeks revenge, he finds himself being seduced by the criminal underworld that he loathes.
Praise for ROAD TO PURGATORY
"PURGATORY succeeds in putting us inside the head of an honorable man descending into a hell of his own creation," Entertainment Weekly
"An explosive, action-packed blockbuster, destined to rank right up there with THE GODFATHER series when all is said and done." Detroit Free Press
"A cordite-drenched Shakespearean tragedy." Kirkus Reviews
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The story of a young war hero (World War 2)who returns home and gives up small town life and girlfriend for the Chicago world of federal law enforcement and mafia lifestyle. The story moves back and forth from his childhood to present day. I don't quite understand why the story wasn't told in chronilogical order. The violence is frequent and excessive. There are so many subplots involving, admittedly, some interesting characters, I don't see how the protagonist can ever trust anybody.Still worthwhile, if you can handle the bloodshed and predictable ending.
This superb novel is the story of Michael O¿Sullivan the son of` Tom O¿Sullivan who we last encountered in Road to Perdition, the graphic novel, the movie, and/or the prose novel. In all three Michael has gone out on the road with his gangster father and witnessed his death at the hands of the Chicago mob. Now it is 1942 and Michael is waging World War II in the jungles of Bataan, carrying a tommy gun like his father¿s only now he¿s using it against the Japanese. Having been baptized in violence well before he joined the army, and having the courage of his dad, it is no surprise to the reader that he can kill the enemy with fury and precision. In one incident he is driving a couple of officers, when they are attacked by the enemy, and Michael just blasts away until they¿re all dead, which encounter loses him an eye but wins him a ticket home and The Congressional Medal of Honor. Michael returns to his home in DeKalb, Illinois with his foster parents, the Satarianos, where he is re-united with his high school sweetheart. But the government has plans for him. He tours the country as a returning war hero; he is to raise money and morale. But Michael has other plans, plans that involve vengeance for his father¿s murder on the mob that killed him and the head of that mob, Al Capone. So when he is approached by Eliot Ness, who has returned to Chicago for one last go at tackling the mob, who puts forth a plan for Michael to go undercover to get close to Frank Nitti who is running things until Capone recovers from his syphilis, it couldn¿t fit in better with Michael¿s plans. Michael quickly wins Nitti¿s trust and becomes one of his top lieutenants. Finally he is sent down to Florida where Capone is ¿recovering¿ and midst a savage bloodletting, which Collins clearly parallels to the one Michael experienced in Bataan, Michael gets to Capone and his chance for revenge. Ironically, his vengeance his stymied by forces of fate which Michael could not have anticipated, and which Collins employs with a profound sense of human fallibility in all things. Now Michael is caught between Ness, who wants him to get on with the bringing down of Nitti and his empire, and a real sense of loyalty to Nitti, who perversely has become a kind of replacement father figure to Michael. Nitti, is portrayed as the decent gangster, the one who wants the mob to move on from its history of mindless violence and become more civilized, if that term is possible in this context. If Nitti goes down, then much more savage forces will take control. Collins brilliantly and convincingly puts Michael at the nexus of forces competing for the control of Chicago. He achieves this without ever over-simplifying human motivations. Nitti, Ness, and even Michael all have their agendas. There are no pure heroes, though there are heroic moments. Amidst all this there is also murder, mystery, and suspense of the highest order. Collins has written a historical crime novel this both convincing and entertaining at every turn. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION
A decade may have passed since Capone killed his family, but Michael Satariano nee O'Sullivan never forgot even when he though he was lovingly adopted. Now twenty, Michael is on Bataan where he wipes out a Japanese division, loses an eye, but is a survivor of the death march. Michael receives the Congressional Medal of Honor and an honorable discharge. Back in the States, Michael believes it is time to become the avenging angel of death. Through Papa Satariano, Michael meets Capone's Lieutenant Frank Nitti, who hires him as a welcome addition to the Outfit. Eliot Ness thinks he is exploiting Michael as an insider breaking up Capone¿s Outfit. As Michael causes destruction, mayhem and death from the inside, back in 1922 in Rhode Island, Michael Sr., the chief enforcer for Irish Godfather John Looney, is about to become a father for the first time, not realizing that the newborn was to become a killing chip off the old block.. This sequel to the ROAD TO PERDITION is an exciting but very bloody suspense crime thriller starring an intriguing protagonist whose soul was sucked out of him a decade earlier. Ironically, Michael¿s amoral murdering spree as an American soldier and a mob soldier will fascinate readers yet because he is so frozen without even a hint of remorse he is unlikable and the tale fails to show heart. Still this is a solid O¿Sullivan next generation entry that contains parallel stories of unaffected 1940s Michael, Jr. vs. the elation of 1920s Michael, Sr. when he becomes a daddy (albeit still a killing machine ¿ must be in the DNA). Harriet Klausner