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Road to Purgatory

by Max Allan Collins

      Michael O'Sullivan's parents and brother were murdered by organized crime factions when he was a child. Eliot Ness managed to get Michael placed in an orphanage and he was subsequently adopted by the Satarianos, an Italian couple who had lost their son. Putting his past behind him, Irish Michael grew up as an Italian, working in his adoptive parents' restaurant. When World War II came along, the skills that Michael had learned as a young boy as he accompanied his biological father on the road with the mob were awakened and put to good use. Michael could shoot well, and kill with aplomb.

Bataan was a hellhole that won Michael the first Medal of Honor of World War II, but lost him an eye when he single-handedly wiped out a Japanese battalion. As a hero, he was shipped off of Bataan, along with General MacArthur. Michael was sent home against his wishes, only to be employed by the government to attend heroes' parades and sell savings bonds.

Eliot Ness offers him a bit more exciting government work with the FBI, to help reign in Al Capone's mob...and so, with revenge uppermost in his mind, Michael goes undercover and becomes indispensable to the ruthless Frank Nitti. Nitti is running the mob for the absent Capone, who is in semi-retirement in Florida, having served time in Alcatraz.

In his dangerous double role of becoming involved with organized crime and working with Eliot Ness to undermine it, Michael is torn by mixed emotions and dual loyalties. His anticipated revenge on Al Capone keeps him motivated, but he knows that you can only leave the mob feet first.

The Road to Purgatory gives a true feel for the time and is a highly charged sequel to The Road to Perdition. Collins is a prolific master of suspense and crime fiction, with unforgettable characters that can populate your nightmares. If you are looking for a fast-paced, hard-to-put-down escape, Max Allan Collins delivers.

The Book

December 2005
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The Reviewer

Beverly J. Rowe
Reviewed 2006
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