Mercy Row is a novel set in 1920s and '30s Philadelphia. It is the story of the rise of a North Philadelphia crime family that was also responsible for building the homes and factories that make up this blue-collar area of the city. Despite the violent trials and tribulations caused by rival gangs from South Philadelphia and Chicago, Jacob Byrne and Franklin Garrett, with the help of the Irish immigrants who settled the Kensington area, build a formidable Irish mob.
This legal and criminal enterprise kept North Philadelphia free from the mafia for two generations. Jacob's and Franklin's organization was built on the blood of those who opposed them, the sweat of the laborers who built North Philly and the tears of the wives and mothers whose loved ones were lost in the struggle.
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This is exactly what historical fiction should be!
Not better, just equally as good, and in a convenient format.
Jacob. He's a gritty, yet compassionate, protagonist. He does the best he can in a world filled with bad guys and seedy businesses. His development, from a spoiled punk kid into a true mob boss, is riveting throughout the course of the story.
Excellent voice. Soothing, but with an edge. He doesn't "overperform" but you can hear some distinction among the characters. His performance only adds to an already-compelling story.
Yes! I couldn't stop the audio even for a second, it was simply fascinating. Just carried the phone with me everywhere all night.
I'm really looking forward to the next book! In fact, I'm planning to gift the set of both to my father, who's a fan of Clive Cussler and Ian Fleming books. I know he'll love this story: it's every bit as exciting, but the characters are deeper, in my opinion. Jacob in particular. He's "one of the boys" but has surprising human qualities that make him more well-rounded than your average two dimensional hero.
Sensitive listeners should be advised that there is violence and explicit language throughout the book - reflecting the world these characters live in and, personally, I thought it only added to the story. These gangsters sure can turn a colorful phrase.
- Savannah Murphy