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4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  1,230 ratings  ·  71 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...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published July 30th 2002 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2001)
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The Godfather by Mario PuzoHeavy Duty People by Iain ParkeGangster by Lorenzo CarcaterraThe Sicilian by Mario PuzoLayer Cake by J.J. Connolly
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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.
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...more
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
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 :) :).
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.
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...more
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...more
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
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...more
Riena Amorino
I couldn't put it down. The type of book that creates a movie in your head. Loved it!
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...more
Raul Portillo piris
one of the best books about gangs stories and the end was awesome.
Charlene Gordon
Good book. Read this in 2002.
The basic storyline is poor and unbelievable. The subplot is predictable. And the characters are unrealistic even for gangsters.

That said, the writing is very good making an otherwise awful story into a quick read. The true value in the book is the psychological insight into gangsters. Carcaterra has done a very nice job of looking at patterns in the underworld and described them in this novel. It is unfortunate that his analyses do not acuurately show up in the story.
Michael Losasso
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.
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.

I'd have given this a 5 except for one little thing. You show me a man with stones big enough to save his own son from a life of evil by killing him and I'll show you a man with the stones to make his way through life. I know, if Vesteri's father had shown that resolve, then Ang would likely never have gotten into the life so it had to be that way. Still, Carcaterra is a good enough author to have conjured up something better. A really good read otherwise.
Michele Defilippo
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.
Sharon Currie
A very entertaining look from the inside looking out of the Italian mafia in the early days in New York City. Loved the characters and I especially liked the surprise ending.
After reading this book I have a few questions. While reading the story of Angelo do you feel any sympathy towards him? Can you understand why he feels the way he does? And what about Gabe, finding out about his parents? Did this book change the way you may have thought or felt about "gangsters"? I think the character development was very good in this story.
This was my second read by Lorenzo. I really like the style and pace of this book. I found it to be educational and interesting. I have Italian roots and it gave me a little insight into what it might have been like making the journey from Sicily to America for my ancestors. Besides, who doesn't like a good Mob story?
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.
Sep 10, 2012 Susan added it
Easy to read. Bittersweet. Larger than life themes when honor was a key component of the New York immigrant culture at the end of the 19th century and into the turn of the twentieth century New York. Texture and culture of lower Manhattan.
Lillian Agosto
I've always enjoyed this author's style of gritty, street-smart look on life. Gangster brings you into a world of survival in what is the life of a gangster from his humble beginnings to the end of his reign. Loved the surprise ending!
Vishal Singh

the best mafia fiction ever read...super brilliant..the book is so awesome u may forget to draw your breath reading it..
Jack Beezley
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!
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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...more
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 Paradise City: A Novel of Suspense

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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. ”
“Sto neprijatelja i jedan prijatelj ucinice te bogatim covekom u poslu. U bilo kom poslu.” 2 likes
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