Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Gangster” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  1,483 ratings  ·  87 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)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
The Godfather by Mario PuzoHeavy Duty People by Iain ParkeGangster by Lorenzo CarcaterraThe Sicilian by Mario PuzoLayer Cake by J.J. Connolly
Best Gangster Novels
3rd out of 50 books — 79 voters
Portrait of Guilt by Anthony HulseThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg LarssonFinding Claire Fletcher by Lisa  ReganRelentless by Simon KernickBushfire by Paul Anthony
Best Crime Thrillers
7th out of 99 books — 59 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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
Not quite finished yet but I don't expect it will get any better. Finished with Mr. Carcaterra for now. I really liked his book Apaches: A Novel of Suspense, his follow-on to that (Chasers) was just ok. Gangster feels like an uninspired version of The Godfather. The book is told in a series of flashbacks. I never had a sense of suspense or felt a connection to the players.
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
Evangeleen Joseph
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
As an avid Godfather fan, probably my favorite book I've ever read, I had high hopes for this book. The first word that comes to my mind is boredom. I enjoyed this book for probably 10-15 pages, other than that the plot line is frankly boring. Its all about nonsense violence. I like a good set-up hit, as much as the next Organized Crime junky likes, but the killing I thought was overplayed. The storyline never gripped me, so Godfather fans don't get your hopes up. Its worth a read if your desper ...more
Kris - My Novelesque Life

"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 Vestieri chooses to flee both his past and his father to seek a second family--the criminals who preside over early 20th
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
Ghanaprakasam Subramaniam
Gangster is a wonderfully crafted epic about the rise of Angelo Vesteri to become one of the most decorated dons to have bedecked the arena of murderous mobsters in the United States. The narrative opens with the events leading to the escape of Paulino, Angelo’s father, from the Mafiosi in Italy. The morally upright, alas unlucky, Paulino forms the initial canvas on which Angelo’s destiny to be one of the greatest gangsters is written. As Angelo grows up in hardship and watches his father suffer ...more
Jan 18, 2009 Christopher rated it 5 of 5 stars
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.
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
I couldn't put it down. The type of book that creates a movie in your head. Loved it!
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
This was different than the books I usually read because it focused not on a specific mystery but rather was the life story of a gangster. We are taken from his birth (under extremely tragic and bizarre circumstances) to his childhood an conflicts with his father, his mentorship by two women (one, a mafia widow and another the owner of a tavern that has mafia connections) his friendship with the brutal but somehow likable Pudge, his descent into the world of organized crime, his reign as a crime ...more
Dana Delamar
Very good book about gangster life in early 20th century New York. Carcaterra has obviously done his research, and the portions of the book set in the early part of the century were the most vibrant and enjoyable.

The present-day story held my interest less. Carcaterra uses a framing device to tell the story of Angelo Vestieri, a Mafia don who is on his deathbed at the start of the book. The story is narrated by Gabe, a young orphan whom Angelo took in and raised up to be his heir. As a characte
I read this when I was in my early teens and it really helped me understand the fact that everything in life isn't black ad white. Like Kendrick Lamar said "we adapt to crime". Not that crime is the right way to go, or that it can be excused, the fact that Angelo Vestieri's 'son' refuses to live the life his gangster 'father' led shows that the author wasn't trying to condone crime anyway. He just shows how some are driven to a gangster life because no other opportunities were available to them. ...more
William  Simon
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.
I had high hopes for Gangster but it ultimately came out as a pale imitation of "The Godfather". There was absolutely no suspense since everything was told in flashbacks and enough hints were dropped early in the story to piece everything together. If written differently, it could have been a better book. Unfortunately, the format and amount of cliches took away from the story.
Wei Liang
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.
Marck Rimorin
A beautifully written novel. Quick read, predictable plot line (it's pretty much a rise-and-fall story you'll find in many Mafia bios and fiction... with a twist), but you find yourself immersed in the story. If you like Mafia lit, consider this one.
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.
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
An interesting story about growing up as a gangster in the mob. The story spans almost a decade and follows the lives of two boys who are taken under the wings of mobsters at very critical times in their lives. I was a bit surprised at the ending, but did have my suspicions in the second half of the book. I would have liked to known more about what happened to the "family business" after Angelo's death - that's not a spoiler, you know up front in the first couple of pages he's dying.

I will proba
Michael Fletcher
Absolutely loved this book! Read it three times, it was that good!
Raul Portillo piris
one of the best books about gangs stories and the end was awesome.
Ali Khan
My single most favourite book of ALL time.
Good. Kid becomes capo
Oliver Olano
This book was really good. One of my favorites
Charlene Gordon
Good book. Read this in 2002.
David Josph
Very good gangster book loved it plan on read more from this author
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • For the Sins of My Father: A Mafia Killer, His Son, and the Legacy of a Mob Life
  • The Butcher: Anatomy of a Mafia Psychopath
  • Boss of Bosses: The FBI and Paul Castellano
  • Mr. Capone
  • Five Families: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empires
  • The Fortunate Pilgrim
  • Underboss: Sammy the Bull Gravano's Story of Life in the Mafia
  • Wiseguy
  • The First Family: Terror, Extortion, Revenge, Murder, and the Birth of the American Mafia
  • Gotti
  • Donnie Brasco
  • Mob Star: The Story of John Gotti
  • No Dark Place (Medieval Mystery, #1)
  • Gangsters and Goodfellas: Wiseguys, Witness Protection, and Life on the Run
  • Capone: The Life and World of Al Capone
  • The Outfit: The Role of Chicago's Underworld in the Shaping of Modern America
  • Way of the Wiseguy: Secrets to Success in the Mob, Everyday Life, and Business
  • Double Cross: The Explosive, Inside Story of the Mobster Who Controlled America
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
More about Lorenzo Carcaterra...
Sleepers Street Boys Apaches: A Novel of Suspense A Safe Place: The True Story of a Father, a Son, a Murder The Wolf

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“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.” 2 likes
More quotes…