Wednesday 5 June 2013

Book ~ "Mercy Row" (2013) Harry Hallman

From Goodreads ~ Mercy Row is a novel set in 1920s and 1930s Philadelphia. It's the story of the rise of a North Philadelphia crime family who was also responsible for building the homes and factories that make up this blue collar area of the city. Despite the violent trials and tribulations caused by rival gangs from South Philadelphia and Chicago Jacob Byrne and Franklin Garrett, with the help of the Irish immigrants that settled the Kensington area, build a formidable Irish mob.

This legal and criminal enterprise kept North Philadelphia free from the Mafia for two generations. Jacob's and Franklin's organization was built on the blood of those who opposed them, the sweat of the laborers who built North Philly and the tears of the wives and mothers whose loved ones were lost in the struggle.

We meet Jacob and Frank in the 1920s in a jail in Philadelphia.  Jacob is just 17 and Frank saves him from becoming assaulted by a bigger older guy.  Charles, Jacob's father, made his fortune building houses ... but he cuts corners using inferior products so his profits are larger.  Jacob has dreams of being his fortune that includes hookers, booze and gambling, which are illegal.  Jacob and Frank become partners and within three years they are successful.

Throughout the years, they have to compete with rival Italian gangs and there are lots of ambushes, gunfights, retaliations and revenge.

I thought this was an interesting story.  There were lots of conflicts between gangs back trying to take/keep control of the illegal but profitable activities such as gambling, liquor (it was during the time of prohibition) and prostitution.  According to this story, gangs were ruthless.

I thought the writing style was okay.  The editing could have been tighter as there were typos and grammatical errors.  For example, Tim "O'Hare" was also spelled "O'Hair".  Another example was "his son's were ..." should have been "his sons were ...".  As a head's up, there was a lot of swearing (with words that rhyme with "truck", "hunt" and "mockducker") so it is for mature readers.

There were lots of colour characters.  Don't get too attached to any because they might not last to the end (that's how violent and ruthless the gangs were).

1 comment:

Masshole Mommy said...

Definitely not for me, but my hubby may like it.