Review by Chris Phillips
Giammatteo brings new life to the typical detective murder story. He takes the time to develop a complex plot into an attention-capturing tale of intrigue and friends betrayed, remade and destroyed.
"It's not the oath that makes us believe the man, but the man the oath" Aeschylus.
This quote begins the tale of a group of friends, perhaps unique in the way all Americans can be. Nicky The Rat Fusco, Frankie Bugs Donovan, Tony The Brain Sannullo, Tommy Mick McDermott form the core of this group and Chinski, Suit and Paulie finish out the gang. It seems that there is a destiny for them to be friends forever until years later.
...Friendship means we look out for each other. Nobody ever rats or betrays anyone else...
...Honor means nobody fucks with one of us and not the others. We stick up for each other. And it means we don't run, unless we all run...
These fateful words and the consequences of making and trying to keep childhood promises provide all the tension for the plot. 20 years after these oaths are made, Frankie is a detective for the Brooklyn Police department. Tony is in heavy with the organized crime family in the same area. Nicky is the ex-con that precipitates the action. Frankie gets called into investigate a series of murders of some apparently unrelated men in the Brooklyn area. He begins to suspect soon that there is much more going on here then just someone being murdered.
Giammatteo writes each chapter from either a third person perspective or from Nicky's personal accounting of his life with these friends. Due to the neighborhood they grow up in they live under the scrutiny of the local organized crime family, headed up by Mikey The Face Fagullo. Tony's mother, Mama Rosa, and Sister Mary Thomas form the character building parts for the boys as they grow up. These two major influences keep the group active and bouncing around through their teenage years. Girls become something they have to consider but deal with as only kids and teens from this era and society can: clumsily, jerkily and very self-consciously.
As is the case with many such friends, they grow up and choose different paths. They see each other, but individual purposes and ambitions pull them away from each other. Girls, family problems and the lure of money impact the group, splitting them until a crisis arises. The gang maintains the oath for most of this time, until one fateful day when a rival gang comes looking for trouble. There are teen passions, pool cues and guns involved. Ultimately gun fire erupts and lives are changed forever.
In this tale, there is a lot of right, wrong and terribly, frighteningly gray. When the time comes and it is needed for oaths to be remembered, they are forgotten and life is never the same. The murders draw them inexorably together yet again. The common thread shows how badly a betrayal of friends can mess up the men that were always supposed to be oath-bound brothers.
The characters are smoothly real. Giammatteo takes the time to develop them naturally. Each takes their fated place and struggles with the people they become. Of course with this much time to cover there are details that grow in importance with each progressive revelation. The tragedy of the way these lives move brought tears to the eyes of this reviewer. The final betrayal is brokenheartedly realistic.
Although the switching of character and traveling back and forth in time might confuse the reader at first, the progression is for the right reasons and falls into place with a gripping conclusion.
The book is appropriate for adults because of the violence and language. As stated at the beginning of the book this is the first in a series Friendship and Honor. This reviewer is eagerly waiting for the next one.
Published by Inferno Publishing Company, www.giacomogiammateo.com, ($12.98 USD SRP/Amazon $12.98 USD) Reviewer received book from author.
Nicky Fusco thought he knew right from wrong, living by an oath of friendship & honor with his three best friends. But life took them down separate paths, and the oath was broken. Secrets were kept. Years later they are reunited and the bonds of their friendship are brutally tested, putting them on a collision course set in motion long ago.
Murder Takes Time is not a typical murder mystery or mob story. It is a thriller, a romance, and a coming-of-age story that rips your heart out. By the time you're done reading it, you just might find yourself rethinking the definition of friendship & honor--even right and wrong.
Three boys, one girl. Friendship, honor, love--betrayal. It ends with murder. Amazon.com
This book was so very astounding good, delightful, scary, and heartbreaking! I don't think I'll ever forget it! The author has truly written a most beloved book! Probably in a lot of people's lives the old neighborhood that the author talks about "was that's what and how the old neighborhood lived". And the "old neighborhood" was good and then not so good. The characters were so typical of what everyone has run into and made the story just perfect! The plot was well put together and the ending was just wonderful. Don't think the author left any thought unfinished as to the characters by the time the story ended. His rules of friendship, how he was taught to murder along with his neighbor mother figure and a Sister of his Catholic School were just wonderful! Truly a great read and probably would recommend to anyone to read as long as they're over the age of 18! Off to find more of his books!