This read was a long time coming! I purchased Gangster Nation when it came out in 2017 and Tod was going on tour promoting it. First things first, I’m referring to him by his first name not because we are in any way actual friends, but because I FEEL like we are because I am a longtime listener of his podcast, Literary Disco, wherein he and two of his friends from an MFA program read and review books. Also, one of those friends is Rider Strong, aka Shawn Hunter from Boy Meets World, so there’s that. This podcast has been brightening my life since its debut in 2012 and after 194 episodes, I can safely say they know what they’re talking about. They are writers who love reading and have introduced me to so many great books and just brightened my dang life. So, if you haven’t given it a listen, run don’t walk, to your nearest podcast.
And now, this book! This is the second in what I recently learned will actually be a trilogy, the first book was Gangsterland and introduced us to Sal, a notorious mobster who ends up on the run from the FBI and is sent out to Vegas, undergoes plastic surgery, and is now masquerading as a rabbi. I liked the first installment well enough but thought it dragged a little. And I mean, I looove Tod so really wanted to like his books, so my expectations were probably sky-high. This second book took me a minute to get into, but once I gave it a chance I could NOT put it down, plus, I had the opportunity to actually read it while in Vegas which made for a fun experience. His writing is addictive and delicious: it was hard to pick a quote for this post because so many stuck out. There were a number of gasp-out-loud moments and the ending leaves you fulfilled, but curious about where the next installment will go.If like me you enjoy mafia stories and have rewatched Goodfellas and Casino more times than you can count, then this series is definitely for you.