Thursday, July 17, 2008

Son of the Mob by Gordon Korman

From the opening chapter of Son of the Mob, readers know Vince's life is juuuust a bit different from your average seventeen-year-old. Most guys don't have a father who works in the “vending machine business.” Most guys don’t get dates with girls like Angela O’Bannon. Most guys don’t have brothers who do business with someone named Benny the Zit. And finding a body in the trunk of your car? Yep, again…not for the average seventeen-year-old.

So Vince, on his first – and last – date with Angela O'Bannon, goes to the trunk for a beach blanket only to find it wrapped around Jimmy Ratelli. Seems Jimmy Rat is delinquent on a business loan from Vince’s father, and Tommy, Vince’s brother, borrowed the car to "encourage" Mr. Ratelli to settle his account.

Of course Angela sees Jimmy Rat drooling and bleeding on the blanket, she freaks, screams, and demands to go home. Then there’s a police road block, Jimmy Rat’s thumping, and the imminent police search of the car. But just in time, who comes to the rescue? Benny the Zit! He causes quite a distraction, the police forget about Vince, the date ends, and Vince heads home.

There you have it. Life in the “vending machine business.”

Vince wants no part of his family’s business. No “relatives” named Uncle Shank or Uncle Pampers or Uncle Fingers. No “vending machine” money. Nothing. Just a happy, clean, lawful life. His father respects that, but then again, he always thought Vince would grow out of it.

Eventually Vince does something most seventeen-year-old do. He gets a girlfriend. The problem is that this young lady, Kendra Bightly, is the daughter of one Agent Bightly, the FBI agent assigned to watch one Anthony Luca. Vince’s father. But give these two love-struck teenagers credit! Just because their families don’t, shall we say, see eye to eye doesn’t mean they’ll let their relationship crumble.

Gordon Korman has a knack for writing books that don’t slow down. After Jimmy Rat there’s plenty more interesting characters, some family members and some business associates, who enter into Vince’s life. Uncle Uncle (yes, that’s his name) even shows up on one of Vince and Kendra’s dates…singing karaoke!

Vince trying to stay clean in his family is like a mole trying not to dig. Regardless of even their best efforts, dirt inevitably will fly.

Other books available in the series: Son of the Mob: Hollywood Hustle.

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