Road to paradise

Max Allan Collins

Book - 2005

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FICTION/Collins, Max Allan
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New York : William Morrow 2005.
Main Author
Max Allan Collins (-)
1st ed
Item Description
Sequel to: Road to purgatory.
Physical Description
289 p.
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Michael Satariano was once known as the Angel of Death, but for the last 20 years, he's managed a Reno casino. Two events change his world: his son turns up missing in action in Vietnam, and Michael is approached by Sam Giancana to kill a rival. He refuses, but Sam won't take no for an answer, prompting Michael to realize that he'll never escape the never-ending cycle of violence he chose as his life three decades earlier. This is (probably) the final installment of the Satariano series that began with the 1998 graphic novel Road to Perdition and its successor, Road to Purgatory (2004). Unfortunately, Collins is slightly off his game here. The family elements of the plot--the MIA son, a sedative-gobbling Mrs. Satariano, and a gratingly selfish daughter--are a bit overwrought. Michael himself is a fully realized, fascinating character, and readers will be pleased to know how his life turned out, at least through 1973. Collins leaves some loose ends, so we may see more of Michael; but if we do, let's hope it's without the soap-opera backdrop. --Wes Lukowsky Copyright 2005 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Shamus Award-winner Collins concludes his Road series (after Road to Purgatory) with a gripping, blood-soaked journey down memory lane. It's 1973, and 50-year-old Michael O'Sullivan Jr., the young boy orphaned in Road to Perdition, has Italianized his name to Michael Satariano and is boss and squeaky-clean mob frontman of the Cal-Neva Lodge and Casino at Lake Tahoe. Though a "made man" and official member of Chicago's Cosa Nostra family, he plans to work a few more years at Cal-Neva before retiring with his beautiful wife and teenage daughter to a life of legitimacy. But simple plans like Michael's fare poorly when thrust against the gritty realities of the mob. When Sam Giancana decides to end his exile in Mexico and reclaim his former position as Godfather, hits are ordered, mistakes are made and many people die, some of them quite close to Michael. He's now on the run, forced to relive his father's vengeance-fueled crime spree of 40 years earlier. While a slightly less profligate killer than Michael Sr., he's just as efficient and just as deadly. Collins's compelling mix of history, bloodshed and retribution is as irresistible as Sam Giancana's last meal of fried sausage, spinach and ceci beans. Readers will eat it up and beg for more. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

A two-time Shamus Award winner who boasts 11 nominations altogether, Collins here says goodbye to the saga he began in 1998. Sick of killing, Michael Satariano declines an order from Godfather Sam Giancana himself to rub out a rival, then gets framed for murder when someone else does the dirty deed. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Road to Paradise Chapter One On the morning of the day his life went to hell, Michael Satariano felt fine. At fifty, a slender five feet ten, with a face that had remained boyish, his dark brown Beatle-banged hair only lightly touched with gray at the temples, Michael appeared easily ten years younger, and the guess most people made was, "Thirty-five?" Only the deep vertical groove that concentration and worry had carved between his eyebrows gave any hint that life had ever been a burden. He wore a gray sharkskin suit and a darker gray tie and a very light gray shirt; he did not go in for either the cheesy pastels or Day-Glo colors that so many middle-aged men were affecting in a sad attempt to seem hip. His major concession to fashion was a little sideburn action -- that was about it. And unlike many (most) Outfit guys, Michael had no penchant for jewelry -- today he wore pearl cufflinks, gold wedding band on his left hand and single-carat emerald with gold setting on his right. The latter, a present from his wife Pat, was as ostentatious as he got. His health was perfect, aided and abetted by nonsmoking and light alcohol consumption. His eyesight was fine -- in the one eye that war had left him, anyway -- and he did not even need glasses for reading, which remained the closest thing to a vice he had: if pulp fiction were pasta, Michael would have been as fat as his food-and-beverage man here at Cal-Neva -- give him the company of Louis L'Amour, Mickey Spillane or Ray Bradbury, and he was content. Neither could gambling be counted among the sins of the man whose official position at the resort/casino was Entertainment Director. Nor did he have a reputation for womanizing -- he had been married since 1943 to Patricia Ann, the woman he always introduced as his "childhood sweetheart" -- and though working in environs littered with attractive young women (from waitresses to showgirls, actresses to songbirds), he rarely felt tempted and had not given in. It was said (not entirely accurately) that he'd never missed a Sunday mass since his marriage. For this reason he had acquired a mocking nickname -- the Saint. Saint Satariano, the wiseguys called him, particularly the Chicago crowd. Not that his church-going ways were the only thing behind the moniker: for three decades now he had served as the Outfit's respectable front man in various endeavors, the Italian boy who had been the first Congressional Medal of Honor Winner of World War II, the combat soldier whose fame rivaled that of Audie Murphy. "Saint" had not been his first nickname. During his months on Bataan in the Philippines, when he was barely out of high school, Michael had earned from the Filipino Scouts a deadly sobriquet: un Demonio Angelico . He had killed literally scores of Japanese in those vicious early days of the war, and had lost his left eye saving Major General Jonathan Wainwright from a strafing Zero. The latter event had been prominent in his Medal of Honor citation, but so had an afternoon battle in which he'd taken out an even fifty of the enemy. General MacArthur himself had helped smuggle the wounded soldier off Bataan, to give stateside morale a boost with the war's first American G.I. hero. But Michael had not lasted long on the P.R. podium and rubber-chicken circuit -- he kept asking his audiences to remember his fellow "boys" who had been abandoned by Uncle Sam back on that bloody island. And so the adopted son of Pasquale and Sophia Satariano was sent back to Chicago a proud son of Italy (few knew that the boy was really Irish), and had been embraced by Al Capone's successor himself, the dapper and intelligent Frank Nitti, as a good example of just how patriotic a dago could be, Mussolini go fuck himself. What Nitti had not realized was that Michael was fighting another war, a separate war, a personal war. The young man's real father had been blessed (or perhaps damned) with his own colorful nickname: the Angel of Death . Michael Satariano was in long-ago reality Michael O'Sullivan, Jr., son of the infamous enforcer who had railed against the Looney gang of the Tri-Cities and their powerful allies, the Capone mob of Chicago . . . . . . that same Angel of Death whose face had appeared on True Detective magazine covers, and in several movies that had romanticized Mike O'Sullivan, Sr., into a kind of Robin Hood who had traveled the Midwest stealing mob money from banks and giving it to poor farmers and other Depression unfortunates. The story went that Mike O'Sullivan had been the top lieutenant of Rock Island's Irish godfather, John Looney, but that (back in '31) O'Sullivan and Looney's homicidal offspring Connor had vied for the old man's chair, which led to an attempt on O'Sullivan's life, that succeeded only in taking out the Angel's wife, Annie, and younger son, Peter. This tale was true as far as it went, but the power-play aspect was guesswork by second- and third-rate journalists. Michael Satariano knew why and how the Looney feud had really begun: he himself, at the tender age of eleven, had stowed away on one of his father's "missions" (as he and Peter used to romantically put it, daydreaming that Papa and his gun were doing the bidding of President Hoover). Instead the boy had stumbled onto a mob killing, witnessing Connor Looney murdering an unarmed man, followed by his own father machine-gunning a clutch of the murdered man's understandably riled compatriots. So it was that Connor had schemed to wipe out the O'Sullivan family, only to fail miserably, as was Connor's wont. The two surviving O'Sullivans -- Michaels senior and junior -- had become outlaws, moving by car from one small Midwestern town to another, striking out at the Capone Outfit by hitting banks where the gang hid its loot, to pressure the Chicago Boys into giving Connor over to the Angel's righteous vengeance. This went on . . . Road to Paradise . Copyright © by Max Collins. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Road to Paradise by Max Allan Collins All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.