Follows six characters originally introduced in Revere Beach Boulevard...
|Number of Pages||:||362 Pages|
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The Return Reviews
Every book Merullo writes never fails to entertain me, especially his Revere Beach books. As someone who grew up in the town next to Revere, I always found pleasure in reading about places I know, streets I have traveled on, even hearing the authentic words of the people around whom I grew up. This book is a sequel to his novel REVERE BEACH BOULEVARD, but you really don't need to read the first one to get caught up in the drama and the tragedy of this book, which offers a day of reckoning for one Italian-American family caught up in a plot of revenge. Highly recommend.
From the author of Breakfast With Buddha, Revere Beach Elegy and many other fine novels and memoirs, Roland Merullo bring his gifts of storytelling and sense of place to this sequel to Revere Beach Boulevard. The story picks up the saga of the Imbesalacqua family of Revere Beach, a once closely knit family torn apart by infidelity, who struggle against the aftermath of addiction and the threat of deadly revenge at the hands of a sadistic criminal.The novel explores the meaning of family and traditional values challenged by the circumstances of real life decisions and how one mistake creates consequences that reverberate through generations. Merullo has a fine talent for the language and dynamics of Italian-American families who populate this work, and brings realism to every page. There is both suspense and tragedy in this story. Like all good novels that deal with the struggle between good and evil,there are no clear answers or tidy endings. For readers from Massachusetts, you will enjoy the local color and recognize some of the scenes and locales. A long time Merullo fan, I am always impressed by his ability to bring genuine feeling and a sense of the common man to his work in a way that connects the reader to the characters. I enjoyed this book and think that you will too.
In The Return, Roland Merullo returns to Boston's gritty neighbor, Revere. Six characters from Revere Beach Boulevard return in this novel, a little older and a lot more battle scarred. Peter Imbesalacqua is in Montana, in the witness protection program - the result of his wearing a wire when he met with Eddie Crevine, a mafia boss, to discuss his gambling debts.Eddie Crevine had escaped arrest and is living incognito in Florida.Peter's father, sister and half brother are still living in Revere, each fearing Eddie Crevine and missing Peter.Peter decides to take a trip to Revere, disguised, in order to see his father one last time. At the same time, Eddie decides to take a little trip to Revere to settle an old score.On one level, The Return is an action novel, with really bad bad guys, and likable good guys with character flaws. On another level, this is a story about families and in particular, about an Italian American family from Revere, Massachusetts. And like all of Merullo's novel set in Revere, the town itself is almost another character.
The characters in this book were well-delineated. A good thing, since the plot emphasized character over action. The book consisted primarily of each character's reflections on the past, which shaped current behavior and moved the story forward. Plenty of solitary evenings, car and plane trips, shared meals and joint projects afforded the characters opportunities to flesh out the back stories that culminated in the novel's bizarre and violent ending.Because there were numerous characters and their points of view on past events constituted the bulk of the story, the author's device of alternating chapters between them became tedious and heavy-handed. The language was fresh, with lots of original metaphors and similes that held my interest.I entered (and won) a Goodreads giveaway for this book because I really enjoyed "Breakfast with Buddha" and "Lunch with Buddha" by Roland Merullo. In my opinion, this book was minor league compared to those, but still an engaging read.
Having read "Revere Beach Boulevard" (and numerous other books by this author) I was eager to read this one and it did not disappoint. The author adds much color to the pages, whether he is describing a location or inserting dialogue between characters. And the pages fly by. This novel contains a Mafia boss (plus his 2 sons - one a straight arrow accountant and the other who follows in his father's footsteps), a television news anchor, a "snitch" who was forced to enter the Witness Protection program (along with his family), a retired carpenter, a captain in the Police Dept. (engaged to a Cambodian woman with a daughter, who takes a shine to the carpenter and shows enthusiasm for learning his trade), a priest and a few others. The ending is something we're prepared for (and the writer includes just about all of the main characters in this ending) but it included a twist I didn't imagine.
I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. Roland Merullo writes very well, unique characters, but that leads to the only downfall of the novel. The Return is marketed and reads as a mystery novel, and novels of that genre require heavy attention to plot. This story was more of a character-driven piece that was well written, but not well plotted. If only the author would write a book that doesn't demand so much attention to plot, and more to the characters, I feel Roland could have a masterful novel.
All the right ingredients are here--fully realized characters, description and detail that rings true to life, competent prose--but the pacing is far too slow, and it makes the whole thing drag. It has to be the slowest book about mobsters and crime ever written. Really, everything else was great. The characters were spot on, it was all very well written, but man, was it hard to keep reading.(From an ARC.)
Not my favorite-Merullo book as I felt it was slow to develop. It still kept me going but unlike many of his other books was in no hurry as it is not a page turner.