The Blog's Mission

Wikipedia defines a book review as: “a form of literary criticism in which a book is analyzed based on content, style, and merit. A book review can be a primary source opinion piece, summary review or scholarly review”. My mission is to provide the reader with my thoughts on the author’s work whether it’s good, bad, or ugly. I read all genres of books, so some of the reviews may be on hard to find books, or currently out of print. All of my reviews will also be available on I will write a comment section at the end of each review to provide the reader with some little known facts about the author, or the subject of the book. Every now and then, I’ve had an author email me concerning the reading and reviewing of their work. If an author wants to contact me, you can email me at I would be glad to read, review and comment on any nascent, or experienced writer’s books. If warranted, I like to add a little comedy to accent my reviews, so enjoy!
Thanks, Rick O.

Thursday, August 17, 2017


The author and his editorial manager sent me a copy of his novel to review:

He did it again! Another innovative novel by Warren Adler, the creative storyteller. This is the third Adler’s novel that I’ve read and reviewed this year (see my review of Mother Nile (1/5/2017) and my review of Heart of Gold (5/12/2017). In my opinion, this novel is his best yet. It has a great plot with lots of action, plenty of surprises, and many cliffhanger chapter endings that keep you reading through the night. Did Adler remain a descriptive writer? Do Indian chiefs wear feathered warbonnets? Here is a sample of his descriptive writing: The Mafia Don, Sal Padronelli, aka the Padre, shows his mafioso crew into a room, “He waited as they filed in, filling the small room. With the exception of Benjy, they were an aging, gray, bulky-looking group. In this atmosphere, pushed close together on the couch and chairs, they looked like overripe fruit that had rolled out of its sack and rearranged itself helter-skelter in the room.” We all know that Ernest Hemingway and his 1920’s expatriates killed off descriptive writing, but it seems that Warren Adler is from the old school of my liking. It’s hard to believe that this novel (originally published in 1986) was never turned into a movie. I can visualize Marlon Brando  playing the part of The Padre. Why not? Marlon was only 62 when Adler’s novel was published in 1986 (the Padre was 69 in the novel) and it was 14 years after The Godfather movie. Anyway, what’s We are Holding the President Hostage about? Well, let me tell you...

A terrorist kidnapping goes dreadfully wrong in Egypt. Ahmed, a Lebanese trained terrorist, wanted to kidnap the United States assistant Secretary of State. Instead he grabs a woman and her child. The woman turns out to be Maria, the daughter of NYC Mafia Don Salvatore Padronelli, and the boy, Joey, is his grandson. Ahmed initially doesn’t know the value of the prize he has acquired. As the getaway car disappeared around the corner, he says, “An American is an American.” The woman looked at him coldly. She had, he noted, recovered her arrogance. “You won’t get away with this,” the woman hissed as her arm shot out. Her fist glanced off the side of his head. Calmly, he directed the pistol toward the boy’s crotch. “He’d be such a pretty little soprano,” Ahmed said, watching the woman as the blood drained from her face. After a moment, she expelled a word. It sounded very much like “Daddy”. “Daddy,” he said with a chuckle. “No Daddy can help you now.” I wouldn’t be too sure about that, Ahmed.

Meanwhile, back in NYC, “Salvatore Padronelli, the Padre as he was called, planted his black Thom McAn shoes beneath the table of the private back room of Luigi’s Trattoria on Mulberry Street. It was located one block from his modest two-story house in which he had resided for forty years...On it was the usual basketed bottle of Chianti, a container of standing breadsticks, and a half dozen small tumblers.” This is where mafia business was conducted. He was surrounded by his crew. I loved the names of his crew, such as Angelo Petinno, “the Pencil”; Vinnie Barboza, “the Prune”; Carmine Giancana, “the Canary”; Rocco Mondavano, “the Talker”; and Benjy Mustoni, “the Kid”. It doesn’t get better than that. The Padre listens to some problems until the pay phone in the room rings. The Pencil picks up the’s Robert, Maria’s husband, in Egypt. He gives the bad news to the Padre that Maria and Joey have been kidnapped. This is also bad news for the kidnappers since everyone knows that immediate family is sacrosanct to mafia families.

Kidnappings for ransom or for prisoner exchanges were going on throughout the Middle East. Currently, twenty four Americans were being held. The Padre doesn’t think the government will do anything about it. Several days later, President Paul Bernard receives word that three of the hostages have been executed. He holds a news conference…”assuring them that the government was doing everything it could, appealing for their patience, implying that negotiations were going on at this very moment.” The Padre watching the President’s speech on TV with his son-in-law Robert knows that’s a line of malarkey. Robert asks the Padre what he would you do? “I would use my power”, the Padre said, hoping that all the suggested implications of his comment would suffice. “How?” “Power is no good unless it is used,” the Padre said. “I would go against all who made this action possible.” “With this President we will never get them back...only if we put his cojones in here.” He moved his fingers together and slowly brought them together. What? A Vise?

Will the Padre and his crew take the President hostage and make him use mafia strategy to get Maria and Joey released? Will it work? Who and how many will die? This novel was 339 pages of delightful tension. If you want to read a thriller...this is your novel. I highly recommend this novel and, by the way, anything else that the talented Warren Adler has written.

RATING: 5 out of 5 stars

Comment: I love mafia movies. It sounds Un-American, but I root for the bad guys. Francis Ford Coppola’s 1972 The Godfather is my all time favorite mafia movie, but there are two other movies that if I’m surfing through the TV channels and one of these pop up...I’m watching.

Martin Scorsese’s 1990 movie, Goodfellas is an adaptation of Nicholas Pileggi’s 1986 bestseller, Wiseguy. The book and the movie tell the true story of Henry Hill’s (Ray Liotta) rise and fall. Is there any movie character more terrifying than Tommy Devito (Joe Pesci)? Or his partner in crime, Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro)? And how good was Paul Sorvino, who played mafia boss, Paulie Cicero? I love this movie.

The second movie is Robert De Niro’s 1993 directorial debut, A Bronx Tale. I loved this movie. A young Italian-American boy is torn between his hardworking bus driving father (Robert De Niro) and local mafia boss Sonny LoSpecchio (Chazz Palminteri), who gives the boy a job in his bar. I thought the sidebar plot involving the boy falling in love with a African American girl was brilliant.

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