Road to Purgatory (Brilliance Audio on Compact Disc)

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9781593559557: Road to Purgatory (Brilliance Audio on Compact Disc)

It’s 1942 and – from the Atlantic to the Pacific – the world is torn apart. Ten years ago Michael O’Sullivan accompanied his gangster father on the road, fleeing from the mobsters who killed his mother and young brother. After an idyllic upbringing by loving adoptive parents in a small Midwestern town, Michael is now deep in the jungles of Bataan, carrying a tommy gun like his father’s, fighting the Japanese. When brutal combat unearths deep-buried feelings of violence and revenge, Michael O’Sullivan returns to the homefront, a battle-scarred veteran of twenty-two, ready to pick up his old war against the Chicago mob. Suddenly, Michael “Satariano” must become one of the enemy, working his way quickly up to the trusted side of Frank Nitti, Al Capone’s heir, putting himself – and his soul – in harm’s way. Leaving behind his heartbroken childhood sweetheart, the war hero enters a limbo of crime and corruption – his only allies: Eliot Ness, seeking one last hurrah as a gangbuster; and a lovely nightclub singer playing her own dangerous game. Even as Michael embraces his father’s memory to battle the Mob from within – leaving bodies and broken lives in his wake – he finds himself sucked into the very way of life he abhors. In a parallel tale set in 1922, Michael O’Sullivan, Sr., chief enforcer for Irish godfather John Looney, is about to become a father. The bidding of Looney – and the misdeeds of the ganglord’s crazed son Connor – put the happy O’Sullivan home at risk. Both Michaels reach a crossroads of violence and compromise as two tales converge into the purgatory of good men trapped in bad lives.

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Review:

It was probably inevitable that the Oscar-winning 2002 movie adaptation of Max Allan Collins's graphic novel Road to Perdition should spawn sequels, and Road to Purgatoryis the first of those--a gams-and-gunplay historical thriller that picks up the action a decade after the original tale left off.

Michael O'Sullivan Jr., the boy who had tagged along with his gangster father on a road-trip mission of vengeance against Al Capone's Chicago mob, only to see his dad murdered, is now in his early 20s. He no longer carries his birth name, but has become Michael Satariano, the adopted son of Sicilian restaurateurs in DeKalb, Illinois, a town not far from the Windy City. It's 1942, and Michael has just returned to the States from a disastrous military campaign in the Philippines that (at the cost of his left eye) won him the first Congressional Medal of Honor awarded during World War II. Changed by the rigors of battle into an impassive killing machine, Michael finds it hard to settle back into his previous life and settle down with high-school girlfriend Patty Ann O'Hara (she of the dimples and Lana Turner figure). So when former "Untouchable" Eliot Ness, now heading a federal office charged with "safeguarding the health and morale of the armed forces," asks him to take on a perilous undercover gig--infiltrating Capone's syndicate in order to curb its criminal enterprises--Michael can't agree fast enough. He blames the ex-Alcatraz inmate for his father's slaying, and sees in this assignment the prospect for retribution. However, as Michael worms his way into the mob, gaining the trust of Capone lieutenant Frank Nitti, winning the heart of celebrity madam Estelle Carey (a woman with her own risky agenda), and planning a deadly assault on Scarface at his Miami estate, Michael discovers that ascribing blame and exacting justice aren't the easy tasks he'd imagined. He also learns that he's more like his late father than he had realized--a point emphasized in a 1922 flashback, which finds Michael O'Sullivan Sr. rescuing Irish gang boss John Looney and protecting Looney's ruthless scion.

Collins's two decades of experience writing about World War II-era Chicago crime, mostly in his Shamus Award-winning Nate Heller detective series ( Angel in Black, Chicago Confidential), shows in Purgatory's copious period atmospherics and its nuanced portrayals of Capone and company. Though the author tests the bounds of plausibility by letting Michael Satariano escape swift punishment for some of the carnage left behind in these pages, he invests this developing family saga with the sort of generational heartache, conflicted loyalties, and pragmatic betrayals that distinguish genuinely suspenseful gangster epics from the merely barbarous rabble. Road to Perdition fans will not be disappointed. Another sequel, Road to Paradise, is in the works, with a graphic novel prequel, Road to Perdition 2: On the Road, already available. --J. Kingston Pierce

About the Author:

Max Allan Collins is the author of the Shamus Award-winning Nathan Heller historical thrillers; his other books include the New York Times bestseller Saving Private Ryan and the bestselling CSI series. His comics writing ranges from the graphic novel Road to Perdition, source of the Tom Hanks film, to long runs as scripter of the “Dick Tracy” comic strip and his own innovative “Ms. Tree.” Collins is also a screenwriter and a leading Indie filmmaker. He lives in Iowa with his wife, writer Barbara Collins, and their son, Nathan.

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