The mobster trilogy reaches the end of the road, though the prose could use some visuals to bring the wooden writing to life.
It has been a long and winding road for Road to Perdition author Collins and his protagonist, Michael O’Sullivan. Collins’s Road series debuted as a graphic novel that inspired a well-received film (with Tom Hanks and Paul Newman). Introduced as a boy on the lam from the mob with his renegade dad—the “Angel of Death,” who was betrayed by the crime boss he had served so loyally—Michael has matured into a war hero (adopted, with a different last name) and a valuable member of the same Outfit that had turned on his father. He had started down that road for revenge but soon discovered that he lacked the will and the freedom to leave the lucrative life of crime behind. History repeats itself as Michael finds himself at odds with the Chicago mobsters he has served so loyally, with the real-life Sam Giancana and Tony Accardo among his adversaries and the likes of Frank Sinatra making cameo appearances. Michael turns to the Witness Protection Program to save him and his family, but there is no protection along the path he has chosen, even after the government gives his family new identities and relocates them to Paradise, Ariz. Inevitably, the destiny Michael inherited from his father envelopes his own offspring, as the thirst for revenge never quenches the deeper desire for redemption. Known as the “Saint,” for the respect he’s earned as a war hero, and for his refusal to indulge in the depravities so common among his fellow criminals, the son of the “Angel of Death” risks a sinner’s damnation as his only hope for salvation. In the process, he reclaims his given name, his identity and his fate.
Strong plotting and historical research can’t redeem cardboard characters, stilted dialogue and heavy-handed themes.