Bless Me, Father

Mark Kriegel, Author, Mary Kriegel, Author
Mark Kriegel, Author, Mary Kriegel, Author Doubleday Books $22 (321p) ISBN 978-0-385-47494-8
Reviewed on: 01/30/1995
Release date: 02/01/1995
Mass Market Paperbound - 337 pages - 978-0-425-15574-5
Paperback - 978-0-425-15648-3
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New York Daily News columnist Kriegel makes a tightly written, fast-paced fiction debut with this novel about a mob lieutenant who witnesses the effects of betrayal and retribution on himself and his sons. Frank Battaglia is a brutal wiseguy, a throwback who laments the passing of the days when lower Manhattan was a mob stronghold. His problems start when he murders his boss in order to move up in the ranks but leaves alive a witness whom the tabloids dub the ``mystery blonde.'' When a clever detective picks up the case and begins leaking details to an aging columnist seeking to relive his glory days, the noose slowly tightens around Frank's neck. Meanwhile, in a convergent subplot, Frank's adolescent son, Nicky, seeks to break free from his father's world after his rebellious brother ends his conflict with their stubborn, willful parent by committing suicide. Using Frank's attempts to teach Nicky to box as a vehicle to explore family conflicts, Kriegel weaves a tangled web of drama and intrigue, complete with a surprise ending that packs a nice punch. The author also scores heavily with the gritty authenticity of his Manhattan and New Jersey settings and his well-drawn cast. Mob novels may be a dime a dozen, but this one, heralding the arrival of an unusually talented author, is well worth its full cover price. (Mar.)
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