Top positive review
A totally engrossing gritty urban crime story by a master storyteller.
on 28 August 2017
This story covers around twenty years in the life and times of Francis (Frankie) Kane, starting with his early teenage years in New York.
The writing is incredible. It is gritty and atmospheric. It quickly draws you in to the story which is told mainly in the first person by Frankie. It is easy to imagine how desperate life must have been living through the Great Depression of the 1930s in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen. The hand-to-mouth existence of the unemployed is vividly portrayed. However, it is not all doom and gloom as Frankie’s indomitable spirit shines through. Passionate, yet a loner who is desperate to succeed, he turns to a life of crime to survive. Even so, one can feel some sympathy for him as he faces the various hurdles life throws at him.
Every so often there is an interlude in the story and a welcome change of pace as one or more of his friends from his teenage years reminisce about his character. This is a clever way of providing an alternative view of both Frankie and some of the events that he has described.
I really enjoyed this story even though parts of it I found disconcerting. First published in 1948 it is in some respects a little dated now. However, for me, it is a superb example of storytelling at its best.