Saturday, June 27, 2009

Faces-Martina Cole

Faces
Martina Cole
Grand Central, Jul 21 2009, $24.99
ISBN: 9780446179973

In London, several mob thugs arrive at the Cadogen home to collect the patriarch’s gambling debt. Dan knew he could not pay so he fled leaving his wife and three children to face the wrath of the mobsters. Almost fourteen year old Danny “Big Dan” Cadogen shows no fear as he faces down the gangsters wanting blood money from his vanished drunken dad. One of the crooks Louie Stein, impressed by the teen’s fortitude and size, mentors him in the life of a criminal.

At fifteen, Big Dan kills a hooker with his fists and not long afterward kills someone who ratted on the mob. Over the years with his best childhood friend brainy Michael Miles at his side, Big Dan becomes the most frightening gangster in the city. He is the Face as even his wife Mary, sister of Michael, fears him. Now a notorious legend, Big Dan knows wannabes will try to knock him off his pedestal, but he welcomes all challengers wanting to die at his hands.

Though extremely well written and engaging, FACES is not an easy to read character study due to the lead protagonist consistent use of his fists and other weapons even on the innocent. The interesting story line focuses on Danny whose life of crime is based on either killing or beating the sh*t out of the other guy or gal to retain their respect; he brings home his terrorist philosophy to his family too. Fans will enjoy this gloomy look at a despicable kingpin who the audience will hope gets his butt handed to him while wondering why he was not assassinated by a sniper with a semi.

Harriet Klausner