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4.12  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,804 Ratings  ·  105 Reviews
Love. Violence. Destiny. These powerful themes ricochet through Lorenzo Carcaterra's new novel like bullets from a machine gun. In Gangster, he surpasses even his bestselling Sleepers to create a brutal and brilliant American saga of murder, forgiveness, and redemption.

Born in the midst of tragedy and violence and raised in the shadow of a shocking secret, young Angelo Ves
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published July 30th 2002 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2001)
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The Godfather by Mario PuzoGangster by Lorenzo CarcaterraThe Sicilian by Mario PuzoDonnie Brasco by Joseph D. PistoneWiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi
Best Mafia Books
2nd out of 140 books — 261 voters
The Godfather by Mario PuzoGangster by Lorenzo CarcaterraThe Outsiders by S.E. HintonHeavy Duty People by Iain ParkeThe Sicilian by Mario Puzo
Best Gangster Novels
2nd out of 55 books — 120 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Ana {The Good Gif Fairy}
Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.

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Wow! This book is a rollercoaster read. It blew my mind.

Lorenzo Carcaterra's Gangster is a fascinating glimpse into the lives of Angelo, Pudge, Ida, Gabe, Angus, Mary, Isabella, Nico and others.

Gangster carries the story both backward and forward in time. The novel follows the life of Angelo Vestieri, the powerful New York City mob boss. It is told from the perspective of two people closest to him: Gabe, a young orphan he took under his win
Aug 22, 2015 Monique rated it really liked it
Interesting... my first street life book that is not an urban read, this one involves the mob--Italians, Irish, straight old school shoot em up gangster life..Okay so the story begins with Angelo Vesteiri, an old legendary mob boss dying with the two closest people to him are sitting around and telling the amazing story of his life. I apologize up front as there is so much going on in this book it is hard to write it down specifically-- Okay so beginning with his tumultous birth and voyage to Am ...more
Mar 04, 2015 Anya rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller, mystery, mafia
Loved the book.
I had so many quotes that I liked, guess I love this genre.

Angelo and Pudge are like ice and fire.

Dangerous and effective. They became the kings of the New York underworld.
I expected Pudge to 'go down' early in the start of the book but didn't, I think that was good for the book. But, I just have to say this, let's face it, it was a bit unbelievable for them to be untouchable for so long.

When Gabe came into their lives it was unexpected.

I thought they helped him because they p
Oct 07, 2014 Francisco rated it it was amazing
Angelo Vestieri is the coldest ganster I know. He is colder than all other gansters I have read about or saw in movies or tv shows. I mean he is as ruthless and vicious as he is efective and intelligent.

Angelo Vestieri was born surrounded by death, smoke and fire. And he died surrounded by posibly the last two people alive that could love a man like him.
With what started with stories about old gangster and the how and why the mafia was originally formed, Angelo Vestieri was raised to become a
Jan 18, 2009 Christopher rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Christopher by: TJ Shelby
Shelves: fiction, own
Wow! Where do I begin. I have to honestly say that this was my first gangster MAFIA style book. I was very pleased with the story. The story kept me interested until the last page. The book was fun and easy to read. I devoured it quickly. For a few hundred pages I got to be in the minds of Angelo, Pudge, Nico, Ida the Goose, Gabe and others. I got to be a gangster and it was sometimes pleasant and sometimes not comfortable at all, but it was fun to say the least.
Evangeleen Joseph
Aug 01, 2012 Evangeleen Joseph rated it it was amazing
Haven't finished it yet, but so far I really like it! Seriously reminds me to be grateful that I'm not in that kind of situation or that anyone that I know is not experiencing it aswell. Lorenzo open's up a whole new world in this book!

Lol, I finished this book a few months ago but have completely forgotten to finish off my review! Lorenzo Carcaterra is such a great author! Honestly, I loved the darkness that this book had, mixed in with wise teachings that can be applied to daily livin
Eddie Owens
Jul 12, 2016 Eddie Owens rated it liked it
It was ok, if a bit clichéd and romanticised.

The writer has obviously seen Sergio Leone's "Once Upon A Time In America", as the book has the same kind of feel to it. There are also parallels to "The Godfather" early on, which I won't reveal, as they are spoilers.

Much as I love gangster books, it's probably better sticking to the biographies of the real guys like Luciano and Meyer. Even when the author makes shit up, it still has the ring of truth, because they were real people.

Mar 03, 2012 Rickhow rated it it was amazing
Without question one of the best books I ever read. Clearly the title tells the subject so there is no need for me to blather on about the story. The to my view beats the Godfather by far and why there has not been a movie or tv miniseries made based on this book is beyond me. I could not put it down. I gave a copy to my 90 yr old father and he read it in two days, also loved it. If you don't give this a try you are simply nuts :) :).
Riena Amorino
Mar 08, 2014 Riena Amorino rated it it was amazing
I couldn't put it down. The type of book that creates a movie in your head. Loved it!
Oct 13, 2014 SlimmGoodie rated it it was amazing
Wow! This book was like reading the Godfather. I loved it! It was a gangster's romance. It took me a while to read it, but I feel the pace of the book was a slow pace and that's how I had to read it to capture the full feeling of the story that the author was trying to convey. It was deep. I didn't realize the surprise ending until it had blind sided me at the very last minute. I don't know if I was just so caught up in the story of Angelo and Pudge or Lorenzo's great ability of only allowing yo ...more
Nov 09, 2008 Jessica rated it it was amazing
By far my favorite Carcaterra book (and I have them all!...I will say Street Boys is a very close second).
I loved the characters, Angelo and Pudge, from the second they were introduced in the book. Part of the storyline (Gabe) is a tad bit predictable, but it didn't take away from the story at all. In fact, knowing Gabe's role before he did made it more enjoyable, because it allowed me as a reader to see how his life had been - er - "managed" without his knowing.
Entirely enjoyable, even more so
Annette Lee
Jul 15, 2015 Annette Lee rated it it was amazing
Though it's been awhile since I read this book, it was good enough to have a lasting imprint in my memory.

This book was awesome! It was one of my first "urban-fiction" genre books, but I enjoyed it alot. From my memory, the author had a great way of making you turn the pages. But, I think his greatest mark was the ability to make characters you fell in love with. I remember crying and laughing as I read because the characters go through so much.

I would definitely recommend this book if anyone
Sep 16, 2009 Quinn rated it it was amazing
A coming of age story about life in the gangster lifestyle. The characters are well developed and the writing is excellent. Gangster follows three generations of people, a father who flees Italy to protect his unborn child from the Italian gangsters, a son who is drawn to the gangster lifestyle in America, and an orphan who is raised and developed to take over for one of the most powerful gangsters in the world. Both calm and brutal this book is an excellent read.

Michele Defilippo
May 27, 2013 Michele Defilippo rated it it was amazing
Great book with a shocking beginning and an even more surprising twist at the end. Lorenzo Carcaterra is a gifted storyteller. His vivid descriptions of people, places, and events transport the reader into the dark underworld of the early- to mid-twentieth-century New York mafia. His characters are complex, and at once despicable and worthy of admiration. I'll be adding this author to my list of favorites.
Michael Losasso
Dec 31, 2013 Michael Losasso rated it it was amazing
By far one of the best gangster books I have ever read. Lorenzo Carcaterra immerses the reader into his world, his New York street scene and makes it breath. The narrative is a sprawling epic tale across decades that touches upon the hallmarks of all great gangster stories: honor, power, legacy. An excellent read that I cannot recommend enough.
William  Simon
Feb 02, 2015 William Simon rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite novels. I've read it 6 times. Each time has kept my attention through the entirety of the novel and has even managed to pull a few tears out. Carcaterra pulls the reader into each of his main characters and causes you to feel for each character... especially the main character and his faithful sidekick.
Wei Liang
Dec 12, 2014 Wei Liang rated it it was amazing
Wow! What a read I like how Angelo grew from just a kid on the street getting bullied into a vicious mob boss at the end. Just a side note though i wonder how many Ida and Pudge was buried in the "graveyard" since he seems to have a pitbull following him around at the second part of the book.
Aug 07, 2012 Mark rated it it was amazing
Fantastic novel about New York crime boss Angelo Vestieri's rise from sickly immigrant to the most powerful man in America. Written by the same author who wrote Sleepers, the book followed the standard Godfather/Goodfellas route, but was all the better for it.
Vishal Singh
Nov 17, 2012 Vishal Singh rated it it was amazing

the best mafia fiction ever read...super brilliant..the book is so awesome u may forget to draw your breath reading it..
Jack Beezley
Feb 04, 2013 Jack Beezley rated it it was amazing
I picked up this book looking for some light reading.
What I got was a compelling story of the life of a gangster, told from a unique view point.
If you enjoyed the Godfather you should love this book.
The ending was a jaw dropper!
Oct 16, 2011 Andrea rated it it was amazing
Wasn't sure what to expect when I started to read it. It started out slow for me; couldn't really get into it. Shortly thereafter, I was hooked!! Great book! Look forward to reading more by this author!
Nov 24, 2014 Guanhui rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
Fans of Puzo will appreciate this well-written gangster novel. Carcaterra has an ability to craft morally and psychologically complex characters, who strike you at once with warmth and chill.
Linnea Hammargren
Nov 06, 2012 Linnea Hammargren rated it it was amazing
Lorenzo Carcaterra has a way of writing that makes me feel a part of the story - captivating, raw, touching - and even with the quite violent theme it has a special kind of beauty to it
Mar 31, 2015 Carrie rated it it was amazing
Awesome book. It's not a sit on the edge of your seat book but it keeps your attention the whole time. This book is for people interested in the underworld mob life. Loved it!
Oct 14, 2012 Toni rated it it was amazing
One of my favourite books of all time. I have read it twice already and I'm preparing to read it a third time. Realistic, gritty and heart warming. A must for anyone and everyone.
May 28, 2008 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Godfather fans
If you enjoy mobster stories, this book is a must. Lorenzo Carcaterra paints an awesome picture of the mob life - the respect, honor, loyalty, and danger that shape a gangster.
Terry Lee
Nov 13, 2013 Terry Lee rated it it was amazing
Another of my favorite authors, Carcaterra brings you to the streets of New York where gangsters rule, but have a loyalty to ones they love no matter what.
Lindsey Dewar
Jul 24, 2013 Lindsey Dewar rated it it was amazing
Read this book about 8 yrs ago. By far the best book I've ever read. It blew me away. Couldn't put it down. You won't be disappointed if you purchase it.
Jan 18, 2009 Lilli rated it it was amazing
Many passages in this book are written so exceptionally that you can't help but become emotionally engaged.
TJ Shelby
Sep 14, 2008 TJ Shelby rated it it was amazing
The best mafia book since anything written by Mario Puzo. A must read!
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Book 1 4 Apr 08, 2016 02:04PM  
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Number-one New York Times bestselling author Lorenzo Carcaterra's highly successful career spans more than 25 years of writing for the diverse fields of fiction, non-fiction, television, and film.

Born and raised in New York's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood, Carcaterra landed his first job in the newspaper business as a copy boy for The New York Daily News in 1976. He worked his way up to entertainmen
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“I was now well prepared to be a career criminal. I had the proper training and a natural feel for the business. I had a respect for the old-liners like Angelo and Don Frederico. I had been a witness to both murder and betrayal and had my appetite whetted for acts of revenge.

I just didn't have the stomach for any of it.

I didn't want my life to be a lonely and sinister on, where even the closest of friends could overnight turn into an enemy who needed to be eliminated. If I went the way Angelo had paved, I would earn millions, but would never be allowed to taste the happiness and enjoyment such wealth often brings. I would rule over a dark world, a place where treachery and deceit would be at my side and never know the simple pleasures of an ordinary life. p368. ”
“No gangster is ever happy when he's at peace. The main reason he's in the business is to eliminate his enemies.” 3 likes
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