First published in 2004, Road to Purgatory is neither a sequel to the novel Road to Perdition, or the film Road to Perdition. Rather, it's a sequel to the graphic novel which, as Road to Purgatory has ceremoniously reminded me, is quite a bit different than the movie.
In this book, Micheal O'Sullivan, Jr., has been adopted by Sicilian restaurateurs and goes by the name of Michael Satariano. Returning from the early days of American involvement in World War II, Michael is given the chance (via Eliot Ness) for revenge against Capone for the murder of his father. Long story short, Michael goes undercover in the mob and adventures ensue.
Let me just state that I like this book. It would probably make an interesting movie (although much would need to be changed to be a proper sequel to Road to Perdition) and would make an excellent graphic novel. Truth be told, I wish this would've been a graphic novel, as a lot of the feats of the characters seem pulled straight out of comic books. Michael is just a little too much of a super soldier. He's just a little too good a lover. He's just a little too smart for his own good. Indeed, most of the violence reads like video game cut-scenes. For a novel, and one based on actual historical people and events as much as possible, the suspension of disbelief required was just too much. Were this a graphic novel, it would've been fantastic (but I think I said that already).
Anyway, despite some of the more comic elements, I really do like how author Max Allan Collins fits the story in with real history (and even, I understand, other stories in his literary catalog). The section dealing with the Army seems a little hokey, and there are a couple of errors in military accuracy, but it works as a setup for the most part. All that out of the way, many of the plot twists and devices are very deux ex machina, convenient for their convenience and not altogether convincing. Sure, many of them are - again - real events from history, but Collins seems to hide behind that fact, rather than embracing it for the narrative.
Oddly enough, the most insincere character in the novel is the one he created: Michael Satariano.
Rating: 9 - (Style: 3 stars; Story: 3 stars)
It just wasn't as engaging as its predecessor (in any form). A few too many typos... although I noticed that in Road to Perdition, too. I'm going to guess that there will be some noticeable editing mistakes in Road to Paradise, as well.
Things I Learned:
- New word: gabardine - a firm hard-finish durable fabric (as of wool or rayon) twilled with diagonal ribs on the right side; a garment of gabardine
- porkpie hat - I guess I just never knew those were called "porkpie hats."
- "Kidding on the square" - an old, rarely used phrase meaning "joking, but not joking."