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Peter Flood, whose father and uncle help the Irish mob control the local unions, is an 8 year old boy playing in front of his house in 1961 Philadelphia when his sister is struck by a car & killed.  Victor Kopek, the driver, is a crooked cop & the Floods next door neighbor. Uncle Phil brings Charley Flood the news that Constantine, the mob boss, does not want Kopek hurt, but Charley kills him anyway.  After Uncle Phil takes Charley to a meeting from which he never returns, he raises Peter along with his own son Michael.  For the rest of their lives Peter & Michael will be uneasy rivals. Meanwhile, Peter finds a means of escape from these family tensions when he starts training at Nick DiMaggio's boxing gym.  Inevitably, the chickens come home to roost as the story builds to a violent climax.

As always, Pete Dexter, a Philadelphia newspaperman, writes a straightforward punchy prose in this brutal story of Mob vendettas &, shall we say, complicated family relations.


Grade: (B-)


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