Finding Family is another masterfully crafted story by Giacomo Giammattoe. This novella is a prequel to the series Blood Flows South, but I would suggest reading, A Bullet For Carlos first. The reason I say that is because, in A Bullet For Carlos, Giacomo Giammattoe introduces Dominic Mangini to the reader as an adult gangster – a character who is ruthless and seasoned. Then the author skillfully manipulates the reader’s emotions, so that they end up supporting and holding dear this very same baddie – even after he commanded that an eye be cut out of a person’s head. And, although A Bullet For Carlos does not end with a cliffhanger, the reader becomes so invested in each character’s life, that they crave more, especially about Dominic. This more is found in the novella, Finding Family.
Finding Family is the story of Dominic’s childhood in Italy and NYC, before violence and crime became his way of life. He didn’t just wake up one day with the question, “How cool would it be to be a gangster?” No, Dominic was a good boy, with a strong belief in God and doing what’s right. He was, however, very intrigued by the power and respect that he saw in the men of honor (especially the head honcho in the expensive suit) receiving from everyone in the neighborhood.
His family was poor, so he and his brother grew up in NYC’s Hell’s Kitchen, a melting pot of nationalities but ruled mostly by the Irish. Dominic often had to fight to defend his mentally handicapped brother, who loved and trusted everyone, even the Irish. It was upsetting to him that he wasn’t able to protect his mother either. His father was a drunkard and would raise his hand to her whenever he thought it was necessary.
After being mugged one day, Dominic decided to visit the man in the expensive suit to see about borrowing some money. His life was never the same after that. And when his family was threatened, he threw all caution to the side and went to make a deal with this man. He knew that this person was the only person who was powerful enough to protect his brother. “Family is everything,” he would say. Doesn’t he just tug at your heart? Told you he would.
I highly recommend giving Finding Family a read. It’s a story that grabs the reader from the start and doesn’t let go until the very end.
5 out of 5 stars, Review by Peg Glover