The Sopranos (minus the vulgarity and violence) meets Leave It to Beaver (minus the "aw-shucks" tone and dated sensib"/>

SON OF THE MOB

Gordon Korman, Author, Gordon Karman, Author . Hyperion $15.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-7868-0769-7

The Sopranos (minus the vulgarity and violence) meets Leave It to Beaver (minus the "aw-shucks" tone and dated sensibility) in Korman's (No More Dead Dogs) brassy, comical caper. With its razor-sharp dialogue and bullet-fast pace, this tale could fly on either the small or big screen, yet it makes a page-turner of a novel. Korman shapes a believable and likable crew—despite the less than reputable profession of some. Many of the novel's conflicts revolve around the fact that the affable narrator, 17-year-old Vince Luca, refuses to become involved in the family "vending machine business." But of course, since his father is the Mob boss, and his older brother serves as their father's loser lackey, Vince cannot avoid being tainted (e.g., he lands in jail "because my sixteenth-birthday present [a Porsche] turns out to be hot"). Mom turns a deaf ear to the shady goings-on, cooking up a steady storm in the kitchen and willing "to serve a sit-down dinner for fifteen guys at four in the morning with ten minutes advance notice." Things heat up when Vince begins dating—and eventually falls in love with—the daughter of the FBI agent determined to bring down Vince's father. The boy also gets sucked into the maelstrom when he loans money to one of his father's underlings for whom he feels sorry. Funny and unexpectedly affecting, this will grab—and hold onto—even the most reluctant of readers. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 10/28/2002
Release date: 10/01/2002
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