Ed Falco~~4 1/2 and 5 Star Reviews

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The Family Corleone

Ed Falco

Grand Central Publishing, Hachette Book Group

Hardcover

978‑0446574624

*****

 

Mario Puzo wrote The Godfather, which is a modern classic that sold 21 million copies and evolved into the first two films directed by Francis Ford Coppola.  A prequel antedates the original book and brings to life the development of the characters that made up the original story.  Ed Falco, an award‑winning author who has written four story collections and three novels, writes The Family Corleone. 

In 1933, the nation was changing from a prohibition era that created many opportunities for criminals to peddle illegal liquor at a high profit. Changes came to the way they were going to do business, and the five Mafia families that controlled New York came to grips with how they would do business in the future.  Vito Corleone, the Godfather, was patient in his approach to gaining control of the other families and had the foresight to know that careful planning was necessary to achieve his takeover.

Vito Corleone created a scenario of bribery, which included Judges, Councilmen, and even the Mayor of New York. He was able by his illegal and legal profits to obtain favors, which he made available to the other Mafia families, thus he made himself invaluable to them.  During this early origin of the family, the children, who will become the main characters of the movies and the book, grow up in Falco's prequel.  He features the relationship between Sonny and his father; we see how control of many situations make Sonny a more calculating criminal rather than just being hot tempered. The other children are either too young or are in school getting educated.

Vito Corleone had ambitious dreams for his children, including Sonny, but Sonny at 17 was rambunctious and tried to strike out on his own. He organized his own gang of thugs who robbed another Don and stole his shipment of whiskey. Touching off a skirmish between the two families, Sonny and his gang found they had to stop being independent and come into the fold.

Ed Falco has treated us to an Italian language lesson by including a glossary at the back of the book that tells how to pronounce the words and what they mean. Many of the scenes are not for the squeamish.  Depicted in clear language are the gross killings of various characters throughout the book. Humor is interspersed along with some love scenes, though these are not that graphic. This is an excellent adult book from start to finish and seems to kindle once again how the five families in New York evolved into the Mafia.

Clark Isaacs

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