cover image Blood of Our Fathers

Blood of Our Fathers

Sonny Girard. Pocket Books, $19.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-72740-6

Though his prose is sometimes unpolished, the pseudonymous Girard, who wrote this first novel while serving time in a federal prison for violation of the RICO act, shines as a storyteller, especially when calling on his insider's knowledge of the Mafia. Michael ``Mickey Boy'' Messina has just been paroled from prison after having been set up by Little Vinnie Calabra, son of Don Vincenze Calabra, most powerful boss of the Five Families. Messina begins a steamy, explicitly described love affair with his younger brother's ex-girlfriend, Laurel Bianco, as Don Vincenze sets off a war among the Families in order to purge the Mafia of the unfit and reduce the number of Families to two. The gradually revealed relationship between Messina's mother and Don Vincenze, while no surprise, makes a nicely integrated subplot. Girard's authoritative grasp of the Mafia's inner workings, his narrative skills and ability to create credible characters easily compensate for his occasional lapses into clumsy prose. (June)