Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer

SON OF THE MOB by Gordon Korman

Gordon Korman is an amazingly funny writer when he chooses to be. As a writer, he also wears many hats, because a lot of fans recognize him as a thriller writer for young readers. His biography indicates that he started writing at an early age, and got published soon after. He hasn’t quit yet.

My family and I listened to the audiobook version of Son of the Mob on a recent road trip. I’d read Korman’s stuff before, and my son is a fan of his series Chasing the Falconers. My wife had heard of Korman. Now they want more of his books.

The premise of the book is a fun one: seventeen year old Vince Luca’s dad is the godfather of organized crime. At least, he is on the local level. All of his life Vince has been around the “vending machine” business and his “uncles.” All Vince wants to do is lead a normal life, which is hard enough when you’re in high school.

The book gets off to a delicious romp when Vince goes out on a first date, never knowing that he’s got a guy bound and gagged in the trunk of his car. His older brother had borrowed Vince car earlier for some “business.” That incident had the family laughing so hard we were crying. And that was just the beginning of the book and Vince’s adventures.

Since his dad is the local godfather and everyone knows it, Vince lives with the fact that various FBI agents are always listening in through bugs scattered all over the house. True “vending machine” business isn’t spoken anywhere but in the basement, and everything else is talked about in code.

The things Vince goes through as the son of the godfather are terrific. He gets a Porsche for his sixteenth birthday and gets arrested driving it later because it’s stolen. He tries out for the football team, ends up playing third string, then when he gets onto the field no one will tackle him after they figure out who he is. His chances to attract a girl dim. I wouldn’t want that life, but I sure enjoyed Korman’s edgy sense of humor and the way he turns Vince into some poor schlub who would have everything he wanted if he would only embrace crime.

The wickedest twist in the book, though, is when Vince falls for Kenda, who turns out to be the daughter of the lead FBI agent trying to put Vince’s dad behind bars. But I was equally blown away by Vince’s efforts to get two lowlifes out from under his dad’s thumb by taking responsibility for them.

Before he knows it, Vince is behind the eight-ball. He can’t tell his girlfriend who he is, a life of crime is reaching out to embrace him, and his best friend is ditching him because he’s finally got a girlfriend. Vince has his work cut out to avoid all the pitfalls and still get the girl, and the story is simply fabulous.

As a further note, Max Casella (the audiobook narrator) is absolutely amazing. The Jersey/Brooklyn accent lends authenticity to the presentation and I felt like I was in the room peering over Vince’s shoulder at everything that was going on.

This is a definite must-read (or must-listen, which I really recommend) book no matter what your reading tastes.


2 Responses to “SON OF THE MOB by Gordon Korman”

  1. […] picture courtesy of BookHound.) Vince Luca is just like any other high-school guy…with one exception.  His father happens to […]

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