The Godfather Returns

(The Godfather Returns, #1)

It is 1955. Michael Corleone has won a bloody victory in the war among New York’s crime families. Now he wants to consolidate his power, save his marriage, and take his family into legitimate businesses. To do so, he must confront his most dangerous adversary yet, Nick Geraci, a former boxer who worked his way through law school as a Corleone street enforcer, and who is every bit as deadly and cunning as Michael. Their personal cold war will run from 1955 to 1962, exerting immense influence on the lives of America’s most powerful criminals and their loved ones.

I don't fully understand this book's transition from the blockbuster film.

The more infamous scenes were removed from the book altogether, or they were told after the fact, or quickly fast-forwarded through. Huh? Everything else is covered slowly in painstakingly clear detail. Examples: Kay's revelation to Michael about the baby (mentioned months after the fact), the kiss of betrayal with Fredo (removed), the attack on the house (after the fact, covered briefly...)

The story is divided heavily by five time-lines, which to me was a bit overwhelming. There is a substantial amount of space devoted to Fredo, especially a "certain secret." The invention of this secret isn't that plausible - even if it were, what big thing does it add to the story? This unusual invention between Michael and Fredo adds up to little.

Unfortunately, the glamour easily experienced with the first was somewhat lacking here. The drama, pizazz, and glitz from the first was seldom felt. While the first emphasized family structure as an in-depth, psychological intrigue, this book has the family fallen apart. Michael Corleone inherited his father's finesse and business acumen, but it's clear from the story's events that he doesn't have the talent to keep family together as his father could.

Winegardener did a neat trick introducing some new characters (like Francesca, although the ending with her felt a bit contrived). The book falls short when it comes to Micheal's inner expression. Tom Hagen comes across dullish and predictable when compared to the inner diggings Puzo introduced with the first.

He does an admirable job emulating Puzo's style, even though of course imitation isn't always flattery. Unfortunately the glamor from the first is mainly absent from this book's reading, but it's still enjoyable in a different way - internal struggles among those who climb in the mafia and the bizarre exploration of a brother who can never live up.

   Other Reviews from this series:

Kay both did and didn't want to ask whose boathouse this was. What stopped her wasn't fear of the answer. It was fear of Michael not wanting to be asked.

It's hell when the person you know you are isn't the person people see when they look at you.

   Other Reviews from this series: