3 out of 4 stars
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The life of a mobster isn’t always playing cards, drinking, and smoking all day. City of Red: Part 1 - The Machetti Legacy, by C.A. Love, offers a different view of mob life. This action-packed thriller, set in 1965, unveils the story of the mafia families from the fictional town of Cold Harbor City. Alfonso Machetti was a “street-level thug” or associate in the mob hierarchy of the Scarlatti family — the gang who runs the city from the shadows. Within the mafia’s code of values, there’s only loyalty, respect, truthfulness, and obedience. In just seven years, Alfonso succeeded in gaining the respect of the soldiers and bosses and became a captain of the crime family. But he breaks one unwritten rule and sleeps with the Mayor’s wife. As a consequence, the Mayor kills the entire Scarlatti family in one night and sends Alfonso to a lawless maximum security prison.
The premise is simple: “anything for family.” Often, there is a price to pay for being part of a mafia family, and Alfonso knows this well. Once the Scarlatti family is out of the picture, a German crime family known as Klaus lays claim to Cold Harbor City. But could this be so easy? Doesn’t the mafia have deeply rooted social and political connections that prevent a family from extirpation? All I can say is that this book made me sense danger at every corner, looking over my shoulder all the time, and living with the impression that any moment someone could snitch, pull out a gun, kill, or die.
The author gradually develops the main character of Alfonso — along with several other characters — over the course of the story. Without giving any spoilers, it’s difficult to further describe. Suffice to say, all of the characters played instrumental roles in bringing out the dominant themes, such as devotion and honor, juxtaposed to death, murder, and fear.
There’s only one thing that I liked least, but it’s more of a personal note. The chapters were very short and didn’t quite allow me the opportunity to create an adequate connection to the scenes or characters portrayed. At some point, I was jumping from one event to another, especially in the first half of the book. Later on, this seemed like a well-thought structural component of the narrative which allowed me to breathe a bit after an intense scene happened.
I would recommend this book to those who are interested in mafia tales and those who enjoy the suspenseful twists and turns of a crime story. There are some light erotic portrayals and violent scenes that might put off some readers.
To improve the rating, another professional review is necessary since I encountered several grammatical errors. Expletives, in the form of curse words, are used but not excessively. Only the editing flaws caused the rating to drop by a single star. Despite the errors, this enthralling book was rather impressive. Therefore, I rate City of Red: Part 1 – The Machetti Legacy with 3 out of 4 stars. While the ending was satisfactory, there were unresolved questions leaving an opening for the sequel, which I am looking forward.
City of Red: Part 1
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