Mario Puzo's last book before he died. Don Raymonde Aprile adopts a mysterious child in Sicily...raises him to learn the banking business, to run a macaroni business, to ride horses..and live the life of a gentleman..but secretly,the Don has trained him to be his family's protector..and when the Don is assassinated; the young Astorre Viola knows the time has come to put his training into effect. against drug lords and even the FBI who has had a hand in the Don's murder.
The story of a Mafia mole begins with the American Don Raymonde Aprile and his adopted "nephew" from Sicily The story combines the FBI and two crooked NYPD detectives who follow clues to a South American Mob kingpin. A surprising story unfolds as you get sucked into the plot immediately! Never a dull moment!
I came across the audio version of this story for a few bucks. I really had no idea who Mario Puzo was (I had no idea he was the person behind the Godfather). I thought the narrator of this version, Joe Mantegna, was very fitting as he is the voice of the Mafia leader Fat Tony on the Simpsons. I had always enjoyed a good crime themed story, so I picked it up.
The book is about a retired Mafia Boss, Don Aprile, who is taken out in a professional hit. Don Aprile left behind 3 kids with no knowledge of the business and a seemingly innocent and legit nephew named Astorre, who the Don raised since the age of 2. After the hit, the Dons children and nephew begin to question the circumstances of the murder, such as the lack of surveillance on the Don at the time of the murder and why it took place. The nephew begins to investigate the murder on his own, trying to find the killers of his Uncle. However, as with many great stories, nothing is as it seems to be. The ones who are supposed to help you are really trying to bring you down. The ones who want you dead suddenly become your strongest allies.
I found the story to be an excellent suspense story. While the plot is a bit predictable, the details were a surprise. I was riveted, trying to figure out who ordered the hit, who was on the side of the Dons family, and who were the ones trying to eliminate the family, and why this whole thing happened as the Don was no longer an active player.
Overall, I thought this was one of the best fiction stories I had read (or as this was the audio version, heard). The various aspects of the plot, suspense, misdirection, love, sacrifice, and others were prepared and mixed like a recipe for a fine dish. The result is a work of art that is much better than the individual components. If you are looking for a classic mafia story or a great crime themed suspense novel, I would highly recommend this book.
"The dead have no friends," says one gangster to another in Puzo's final novel, as they plot to kill America's top Mafioso. But Puzo, despite his death last year at age 78, should gain many new friends for this operatic thriller, his most absorbing since The Sicilian. The slain mobster is the elderly Don Raymonde Aprile. His heirs, around whom the violent, vastly emotional narrative swirls, are his three children and one nephew. It's the nephew, Astorre Viola, who inherits the Don's legacy and transforms before his cousins' astonished eyes from a foppish playboy into a Man of Honor, as he avenges the Don's death and protects his family from those hungry for its prime possession: banks that will earn legitimate billions in the years ahead. Astorre's change is no surprise to the few aged mobsters who know that, as a youth, he was trained to be a Qualified Man, or to the fewer still who knowDas Astorre does notDthat his real father was a great Sicilian Mafioso. Arrayed against Astorre in his pursuit of cruel justice are some of the sharpest Puzo characters ever, among them a corrupt and beautiful black New York policewoman; assassin twins; wiseguys galore, including a drug lord who seeks his own nuclear weapon; and, drawn in impressive shades of gray, a veteran FBI agent who imperils his family and his soul to destroy Astorre. Despite its familiar subject matter, the novel; which shuttles among Sicily, England and America is unpredictable and bracing, but its greatest strength is Puzo's voice, ripe with age and wisdom, as attentive to the scent of lemons and oranges in a Sicilian garden as to a good man's sudden, bloody death.
The final chapter in Mario Puzo's landmark mafia trilogy.
Don Raymonde Aprile is an old man wily enough to retire gracefully from organized crime after a lifetime of ruthless conquest. Though Don Aprile's retirement is seen as a business opportunity by his last Mafia rival, it is viewed with suspicion by Kurt Cilke, the FBI's special agent in charge of investigating organized crime....as Cilke mounts his campaign to wipe out the Mafia once and for all, Aprile finds himself in the midst of one last war....
Cass, UAB, 10 hrs. Great audio. If you liked the Godfather - you'll love this!
Omerta, the third novel in Mario Puzo's Mafia trilogy, is infinitely better than the third Godfather film, and most movies in fact. Besides colorful characters and snappy dialogue, it's got a knotty, gratifying, just-complex-enough plot and plenty of movie-like scenes. The newly retired Mafioso Don Raymonde Aprile attends his grandson's confirmation at St. Patrick's in New York, handing each kid a gold coin. Long shot: "Brilliant sunshine etched the image of that great cathedral into the streets around it." Medium shot: "The girls in frail cobwebby white lace dresses, the boys [with] traditional red neckties knitted at their throats to ward off the Devil." Close-up: "The first bullet hit the Don square in the forehead. The second bullet tore out his throat."
More crucial than the tersely described violence is the emotional setting: a traditional, loving clan menaced by traditional vendettas. With Don Aprile hit, the family's fate lies in the strong hands of his adopted nephew from Sicily, Astorre. The Don kept his own kids sheltered from the Mafia: one son is an army officer; another is a TV exec; his daughter Nicole (the most developed character of the three) is an ace lawyer who liked to debate the Don on the death penalty. "Mercy is a vice, a pretension to powers we do not have ... an unpardonable offense to the victim," the Don maintained. Astorre, a macaroni importer and affable amateur singer, was secretly trained to carry on the Don's work. Now his job is to show no mercy.
But who did the hit? Was it Kurt Cilke, the morally tormented FBI man who recently jailed most of the Mafia bosses? Or Timmona Portella, the Mob boss Cilke still wants to collar? How about Marriano Rubio, the womanizing, epicurean Peruvian diplomat who wants Nicole in bed--did he also want her papa's head?
If you didn't know Puzo wrote Omerta, it would be no mystery. His marks are all over it: lean prose, a romance with the Old Country, a taste for olives in barrels, a jaunty cynicism ("You cannot send six billionaires to prison," says Cilke's boss. "Not in a democracy"), an affection for characters with flawed hearts, like Rudolfo the $1,500-an-hour sexual massage therapist, or his short-tempered client Aspinella, the one-eyed NYPD detective. The simultaneous courtship of cheery Mafia tramp Rosie by identical hit-man twins Frankie and Stace Sturzo makes you fall in love with them all--and feel a genuine pang when blood proves thicker than eros.
This fitting capstone to Puzo's career is optioned for a film, and Michael Imperioli of TV's The Sopranos narrates the audiocassette version of the novel. But why wait for the movie? Omerta is a big, old-fashioned movie in its own right. --Tim Appelo (Amazon.com)