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The Poison of Money: Inside the Torrio Family Reviewed by Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com
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Norm Goldman --  bookpleasures.com Norm Goldman -- bookpleasures.com
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Montreal, QC
Wednesday, December 9, 2020

 

Author: Joe Torrence

Publisher: AmericanEuropean Entertainment Inc

ISBN: 978-1-7770956-0-4

Unless you are a maven anda mob historian of the Cosa Nostra, the name Johnny Donato Torrio,born Donato Torrio in Irsina, Italy to Tommaso Torrio and MariaCarluccio would mean very little to you.


Let's say that one day youfind out your great-uncle was Torrio. He helped establish the ChicagoOutfit (also identified as the Outfit, the Chicago Mafia, the ChicagoMob, the South Side Gang, or The Organization) in the 1920s that wassubsequently succeeded by his protégé Al Capone? How would youreact?

Here was a criminal whowas dubbed "The Fox," which was credited to his cunning,tact, business ingenuity, and peacemaking skills. The crime group heheaded was essentially Italian and was the biggest in Chicago.

This now brings me to JoeTorrence's story The Poison of Money: Inside the TorrioFamily, which we are informed is a work of fiction that basesitself on numerous actual events about the life of Johnny Torrio.

The narrative chroniclesthe life of a criminal who US Treasury official Elmer Irey oncedepicted as "the biggest gangster in America, the smartest andthe best of all the hoodlums. 'Best' referring to talent, notmorals."

The tale's principalnarrator is a young lad, Joseph, who, after viewing the motionpicture "The Godfather," rationalizes "that here wassomeone who everything a man could want to be." Yet, because ofJoseph's stern moral upbringing, he felt deep down that he wouldnever emulate "The Godfather."

One day, Joseph discoversa press clipping in his father's nightstand with the caption "TheMafia at War." This sets off a sequence of visits with Joseph'saunt Tina, his father's eldest sister. Joseph discovers that Torrioturns out to be the brother of aunt Tina's mother and, therefore, theuncle of his father and Tina, or Joseph's great-uncle.

As discussions progressedover some time, Joseph unlocks a ghastly skeleton in his family'scloset, which will drive him to mull over how money can be rewardingand destructive all at the same time. To say that the storiesrecounted about Joseph's great-uncle were intriguing would be anunderstatement. Tina had an aptitude for transporting Joseph back tothose exciting and significantly often scary days. And as the authorexplains, and readers will no doubt experience, "it became likea virtual reality tour-time travel back through various eras andacross several continents."

Although the novel is abit of a flog, Torrence is a colorful storyteller. Sadly, the yarnjumps all over the place with too much stuffing in of historical dataand events of the era. This lack of focus could have been rectifiedwith a good content editor who would have cut out inessentialbackground information. Nonetheless, at times it did feel as if I wassitting with a friend in a bar having a drink while he barked out,"have a got a fascinating story to tell you.!"

On the last page of thenovel, we are told that the writer is a talented business executivewho some believe inherited the business acumen and street-savvy ofhis great-uncle. Although, you can say that there is one contrastbetween these two. Torrence followed the straight path as heinherited and embraced the morals, honesty, and integrity of his ownfamily upbringing.

 Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com

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