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 eye, and the violent skills necessary to avenge his family, who were gunned down by the Chicago mob when he/b>/i>
The brilliant sequel to Road to Perdition, Max Allan Collins' 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.
"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
ELLERY QUEEN MYSTERY MAGAZINE
Max Allan Collins' Road to Purgatory is a sequel in novel form to the acclaimed Tom Hanks film "Road to Perdition," in turn based on a graphic novel by Collins.
The story begins with Michael O'Sullivan Jr. (the boy from the first tale, now in his early 20s) serving in combat in World War II. With his fearlessness and capacity for violence-his father was a mob hit man-
Michael is a formidable soldier. After being maimed in combat, he is discharged from the hospital and sent home to Chicago. Finding himself at loose ends, he is recruited by Eliot Ness to go undercover to help the G-man bring down the Capone mob.
Michael proves himself to be just as good a soldier in the Outfit as he was in the Army. He soon crosses the line, though, becoming more like his father than he ever thought he would be, a point driven home in a flashback featuring Michael Sr.
Nobody writes about war era crime in Chicago as well as Collins. With its
fascinating period narrative and affecting intergenerational story, Road to
Purgatory is a delight for fans of the original story and newcomers as
- Brash Books
- Publication date:
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.73(d)
Read an Excerpt
Road to Purgatory
Patsy Ann O'Hara unquestionably the prettiest coed on the Northern State Teachers' College campus, did not have a date for the Fourth of July.
Apple-cheeked, strawberry blonde, her heart-shaped face blessed with Shirley Temple dimples, a beauty mark near her full lips, her big long-lashed dark blue eyes accented by full dark (cautiously plucked) eyebrows, her five-foot-five figure one that Lana Turner would find familiar, Patsy Ann had been a stunning beauty for so many years, she never thought about it really, other than to carefully maintain this gift from God.
The former Homecoming Queen of DeKalb Township High (class of '38) considered herself more conscientious than vain -- meticulous about her grooming, maintaining an exercise regimen, avoiding excess sweets and too much sun, her selection of clothing as exacting as a five-star chef choosing just the right ingredients for a gourmet meal (before shortages, anyway).
Today she had selected an appropriately patriotic red-andwhite- checked cotton sundress, its ruffled trim at both bodice and skirt accentuating her just-full-enough bosom and her Grable-esque gams, further set off by red-white-and-blue opentoed wedge-heeled sandals. The outfit perhaps seemed a trifle youngshe was, after all, twenty-one ...
... but she wanted to look like a high school girl today, or at least invoke one, even if doing so risked occasional askance glances or even envious ridicule from females who never had looked this good, not even in high school.
Anyway, the men would like it ... though she only cared about the reaction of one specific man sure to be at the festivities today ...
None of the panting males at Northern State Teachers' College had even bothered to ask Patsy Ann out for the Fourth. This had nothing to do with a shortage of men -- fully half the enrollment was male, ranging from 4-F's to guys waiting for Uncle Sam's inevitable "greetings," as well as a number who'd received deferments. They had long since stopped trying, knowing she was "taken."
The first several years at Northern, she'd been dating her high school boyfriend; and ever since her guy had joined the army and gone off to fight in the Philippines, Patsy Ann had been steadfastly true, a college woman wearing the high-school class ring of her overseas beau. Frustrated as some of the guys at Northern might be, they admired her for this loyalty -- so did even the cattiest females on campus.
No one but Patsy Ann's young sister -- little Betty, who was a high school senior already! -- knew the truth; not even Mom and Dad. No one but Betty knew that Mike had broken it off with Patsy Ann before he went away, that he had kissed her tenderly and told her not to wait for him.
"Forget about me," he said.
"You can't be serious, Michael ... "
But he was almost always serious.
"A war's coming," he said. "I'm not going to put you in that position."
She'd felt flushed with emotion, some of it anger. "Doesn't my opinion count in this?"
"No," he said.
But she knew he didn't mean that. She knew he was trying to get her mad at him, to help break it off ...
She'd penned a letter to him every day. He had not sent a single reply, or at least none had made it back to her. And yet month upon month, she wrote to Mike, staring at his framed Senior picture, suffering in stoic, noble silence, an English Lit major wholly unaware that her love of romantic literature was influencing her behavior.
When she learned of Mike's breathtaking heroism, and that he was coming home, Patsy Ann had gone to Pasquale's Spaghetti House to see if Papa and Mama Satariano had an address for him. They did -- their son was at St. Elizabeth's Hospital near Washington, D.C.
When he didn't reply to her stateside letters, either, she dismissed it -- after all, Michael was recuperating, receiving therapy. And then, a few months later, the local paper was full of Papa and Mama Satariano taking the train to D.C. to attend the presentation by President Roosevelt of the Congressional Medal of Honor -- the first of the war!
How Patsy Ann wished she could have been there, standing next to Michael in the White House Executive Office as General Eisenhower lowered the looped ribbon with the golden star over his head ...
For several weeks Michael had toured the East Coast, making speeches (she could hardly believe that, shy as he was!) and promoting the sale of war bonds and stamps. Banquets, dinners, receptions, receiving the keys to cities, shaking hands with mayors and governors and senators ... how thrilling it would have been, to be at his side. Michael, though, probably detested all of it ...
Yesterday, in Chicago, Michael had been flown into Municipal Airport and whisked away for a ticker tape parade down packed State Street. The key-to-the-city ceremony had been at City Hall, with Mayor Kelly and various dignitaries lavishing praise on this "heroic native son of Illinois."
Michael gave a speech, his voice soft and uninflected; but even Patsy Ann, listening on the radio, would have to admit the talk was not a memorable one, sounding nothing like Michael: "There are many who speak of giving their all, but are they willing to allocate ten percent of their earnings for war bonds?"
Still, as she curled beside the console, feeling like a schoolgirl, heart beating like a triphammer, she cherished the sound of his voice.
Had she done the right thing, she wondered, not going in to the city? Waiting for today, for what she hoped and prayed would be just the right moment?
Last night, she and her sister had sat in their loose-fitting man-tailored pj's in the upstairs bedroom they still shared (Patsy Ann lived at home and had rebuffed any attempt by sororities to rush her) ...Road to Purgatory. Copyright © by Max Collins. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Meet the Author
Max Allan Collins is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Private Eye Writers of America, and the author of many books, including "Road to Perdition," which became the Oscar winning film, and the "Quarry" novels, the basis for the hit TV series on Cinemax
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews
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