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Columbus Avenue Boys by David Carraturo
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Columbus Avenue Boys

by David Carraturo

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The Columbus Avenue boys (Sal, Chris and Tony) are very distantly related cousins and grew up together in a small town close to New York City. The friends remained close through the years despite Chris moving to Texas for his job at a financial firm. While Chris was crunching numbers in Texas, Sal and Tony were earning their livings as enforcers for the Gambino crime family.

Sal and Tony decide they want out of the mob life they have become accustomed to and Chris has a plan to make this seemingly impossible mission feasible. The plan requires Sal and Tony to become informants for the FBI. Will Chris’s plan free Sal and Tony from their responsibilities with the mob without casualties? What family secrets will the men learn along the way?

Columbus Avenue Boys is an exceptionally well researched historical fiction novel. Readers will fall in love with Sal, Chris, Tony and many other family members. The characters and scenes are described with such exquisite detail; you feel you are with them as a silent observer. This story is told with chapters alternating from the beginning of the family’s mob ties in the late 1800’s (past) to the 1990’s (present) until the past and present catch up at the end of the book.

I am a huge fan of historical fiction and love to be able to imagine what life could have been like for individuals during the early 1900’s in America. Columbus Avenue Boys not only gives us an inside look at the life of mob members, but also lessons in American history and the importance of family. ( )
  taravanh | Nov 10, 2012 |
David Carraturo hit it out of the park, again, with Columbus Avenue Boys...This is Carraturo's second novel, and serves as a semi-prequel to Cameron Nation (see my review here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/295721704). The reason I say "semi-prequel," is because the themes, characters and stories are interwoven between both novels, each one has the capability to stand alone on it's own. This is a skill that I find to be extremely admirable among author's who choose to write "series" of books. The worst thing an author can do (in my opinion) is force a reader to read all 85 of their books in order to understand what's going on in the latest and greatest. Carraturo does not have this issue in the slightest. If you don't care for politics, you can easily pick up Columbus Avenue Boys for a great read about Italian Mafia life in New York, both historically and in contemporary day (in the 90's). If the Mob's not your thing, but you love politics, then Cameron Nation is the way to go. You don't HAVE to read both to understand whats going on, because both novels are written well enough to stand on their own (although, based on this author's immense writing talent, I recommend that EVERYONE read both, and then place themselves on a permanent Amazon.com David Carraturo new release pre-order list for the rest of their lives, but that's just my personal opinion). Alright, let me get into the book...

The prologue draws you in and sets the tone of what lies ahead (kind of): famous mobster Bugsy Siegel is assassinated. I don't want to give away any of the twists and turns, so what I will say, is that this story has it all: violence, sadness, despair, love, war, family, food, the Mafia, FBI informants, happiness, and a sense of accomplishment and closure. Carraturo blends together so many themes and time eras seamlessly to create one completely complete story. You are transported from the early 1900's to the late 1990's and many places in between. Each era is presented with historical accuracy, which is obviously due to careful research by the author...nothing can fatally flaw a novel more than people, places, things, etc. being completely out of context for the era and locale in which the story takes place. The way I see it, this is a flawless read, and I like to think that I have a considerable amount of literature read (great and not-so-great) under my belt to make such a judgment, and its not a judgment I am willing to hand out so readily.

I feel like the main reason Carraturo's work is so flawless, is because he obviously puts himself, his family, his experiences, and his interests into his writing (read the acknowledgements and see that this is a proven fact!), and that presents a very tough goal to meet, and a great push towards perfection. I will guarantee that the author's family and friends are extremely proud when they find themselves represented in such a carefully-written novel. And it is no wonder that the characters are so well-developed. This novel gives you the sense that you are not reading fiction. It feels like a memoir, or a true story, and for having a non-fiction feel, it's the best damn fiction/non-fiction thing I've ever read!

In conclusion, I will say exactly what I said in my review for Cameron Nation (or close to it): The only thing I don't like about this book, is that I am done reading it, and now I am left to wait for the next book from Carraturo. He has obviously found a style of writing that really works and his story development is A-MAZING! This is definitely an author to keep your eyes on. I would recommend this book (and Cameron Nation) to pretty much anyone from high-school age on up. There is something for everyone. If you like Mafia reads, this is your book. If you like reading about multi-generation familial tribulations and triumphs, this is for you. If you like love stories, read it. A history buff? Open the book. For God's Sakes, just read the damn book! I guarantee you will like it. And if you don't, well, then, you have no taste...but that's just my personal opinion, so shoot me. ( )
  inquisitivefork | May 22, 2012 |
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