Mario Puzo, author of eight novels, will eternally be known for one book: The Godfather. It's true that this is no mean legacy but it should be remembered that Puzo's output has included some considerable novels, notably The Sicilian and The Last Don. His new book, Omertà is unquestionably the finest of his latter-day work, a sweeping, violent epic with brilliantly precise characterisations.
Omertàis the Sicilian code of silence, the essential element by which the Mafia has maintained its power over the centuries. Puzo is interested in the way in which changing times have forced organised crime to adapt, however painful the process. The code is tested when a mob boss, Don Aprile, is brutally murdered in New York. Both Astorre, Aprile's nephew, and Cilke, the New York FBI chief, launch investigations into the killing. It soon becomes clear to both men that a grim conspiracy has spread its tentacles across rival gangs, corrupt bankers and even the courts. Much blood must be spilled before the killers are found--there are many (on both sides of the law) who will do their best to stop this happening.
Puzo's favourite theme--the interchangeability of big business and organised crime--is handled with his customary panache. However much we may disapprove of the horrifically violent Mafiosi, we remain riveted by their implacable cold-bloodedness. Astorre has all the complexity of Michael Corleone (even if we've been here before) but Cilke is a new departure for the author--a lawman who is quite as powerfully characterised as Puzo's criminal protagonists.
It goes without saying that the grisly set-pieces are handled with the usual élan:
The car sped up and stopped as the Don reached the last step. Stace jumped out of the back seat--in one quick move he rested his gun on the roof. He shot two-handed. He only shot twice. The first bullet hit the Don square in the forehead. The second bullet tore out his throat. His blood spurted all over the sidewalk, showering yellow sunlight with pink drops.--Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Keeps reader turning pages all the way to an explosive showdown -- Daily Mail
An enthralling tale of Mafia conspiracy, violence and betrayal from the legendary author ofThe Godfather --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From the Back Cover
From the author of The Godfather - one of the bestselling novels of all time - comes Mario Puzo's new novel of Mafia conspiracy, violence and betrayal ...
OMERTÁ, the Sicilian code of silence, has been the cornerstone of the Mafia's sense of honour for centuries. Born in the Sicilian hills, omerta carried the Mafia through a century of change, but now at the century's end it is becoming a relic from a bygone age. Honour may be silent - but money talks.
New York - a mob boss is assassinated. His nephew and the head of the city's FBI both launch investigations into the murder. But silence spreads like a contagion: the silence of rival gangs, the silence of crooked bankers, even the silence of the courts.
However, the world of the Mafia is one without integrity, and riven with greed. And when money starts to talk...
'Hugely effective fiction ... [Puzo] keeps his pack with readers to unfailingly deliver the goods' Literary Review
'Here is all the classic material of Mafia mythology ... spins a spell all its own' The Times
'Puzo's genius was to create a world so thick with personality and acknowledged rules of behaviour, along with its crime and violence, that reading his books becomes a seriously guilty pleasure' New York Post--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Mario Puzo was born in New York. He is the author of the bestselling novel The Godfather and many other acclaimed novels. Puzo also wrote many screenplays, including those for the three Godfather movies, for which he won two academy awards. He died at his home in Long Island, New York, at the age of seventy-eight. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
When the sturzo twins, Franky and Stace, pulled into Heskows driveway, they saw four very tall teenagers playing basketball on the small house court. Franky and Stace got out of their big Buick, and John Heskow came out to meet them. He was a tall, pear-shaped man; his thin hair neatly ringed the bare top of his skull, and his small blue eyes twinkled. Great timing, he said. Theres someone I want you to meet. The basketball game halted. Heskow said proudly, This is my son, Jocko. The tallest of the teenagers stuck out his huge hand to Franky. Hey, Franky said. How about giving us a little game? Jocko looked at the two visitors. They were about six feet tall and seemed in good shape. They both wore Ralph Lauren polo shirts, one red and the other green, with khaki trousers and rubber-soled shoes. They were amiable-looking, handsome men, their craggy features set with a graceful confidence. They were obviously brothers, but Jocko could not know they were twins. He figured them to be in their early forties. Sure, Jocko said, with boyish good nature. Stace grinned. Great! We just drove three thousand miles and have to loosen up. Jocko motioned to his companions, all well over six feet, and said, Ill take them on my side against you three. Since he was the much better player, he thought this would give his fathers friends a chance. Take it easy on them, John Heskow said to the kids. Theyre just old guys futzing around. It was midafternoon in December, and the air was chilly enough to spur the blood. The cold Long Island sunlight, pale yellow, glinted off the glass roofs and walls of Heskows flower sheds, his front business. Jockos young buddies were mellow and played to accommodate the older men. But suddenly Franky and Stace were whizzing past them for layup shots. Jocko stood amazed at their speed; then they were refusing to shoot and passing him the ball. They never took an outside shot. It seemed a point of honor that they had to swing free for an easy layup. The opposing team started to use their height to pass around the older men but astonishingly enough got few rebounds. Finally, one of the boys lost his temper and gave Franky a hard elbow in the face. Suddenly the boy was on the ground. Jocko, watching everything, didnt know exactly how it happened. But then Stace hit his brother in the head with the ball and said, Come on. Play, you shithead. Franky helped the boy to his feet, patted him on the ass, and said, Hey, Im sorry. They played for about five minutes more, but by then the older men were obviously tuckered out and the kids ran circles around them. Finally, they quit. Heskow brought sodas to them on the court, and the teenagers clustered around Franky, who had charisma and had shown pro skills on the court. Franky hugged the boy he had knocked down. Then, he flashed them a man-of-the-world grin, which set pleasantly on his angular face. Let me give you guys some advice from an old guy, he said. Never dribble when you can pass. Never quit when youre twenty points down in the last quarter. And never go out with a woman who owns more than one cat. The boys all laughed. Franky and Stace shook hands with the kids and thanked them for the game, then followed Heskow inside the pretty green-trimmed house. Jocko called after them, Hey, you guys are good! Inside the house, John Heskow led the two brothers upstairs to their room. It had a very heavy door with a good lock, the brothers noticed as Heskow let them in and locked the door behind them. The room was big, a suite really, with an attached bathroom. It had two single bedsHeskow knew the brothers liked to sleep in the same room. In a corner was a huge trunk banded with steel straps and a heavy metal padlock. Heskow used a key to unlock the trunk and then flung the lid open. Exposed to view were several handguns, automatic weapons, and munitions boxes, in an array of black geometric shapes. Will that do? Heskow asked. Franky said, No silencers. You wont need silencers for this job. Good, Stace said. I hate silencers. I can never hit anything with a silencer. OK, Heskow said. You guys take a shower and settle in, and Ill get rid of the kids and cook supper. What did you think of my kid? A very nice boy, Franky said. And how do you like the way he plays basketball? Heskow said with a flush of pride that made him look even more like a ripened pear.
Exceptional, Franky said. Stace, what do you think? Heskow asked. Very exceptional, said Stace. He has a scholarship to Villanova, Heskow said. NBA all the way.