Omerta by Mario Puzo
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Was Mario Puzo a great writer? I don't know if I'd go that far. Some of his figurative language came off as sophomoric and his sex scenes left much to be desired. But was he an effective writer? Absolutely. You could blow through these books in a few days (a few hours!) if you wanted to, which is the sign of any effective writer.
This story features a character named Astorre Viola who is similar to Michael Corleone in that he is reluctant to get involved in a world of crime. But once the murder of someone he admires occurs, Astorre sets off to action since he believes in Omerta, which is the code of the Mafia. He must seek revenge. But being the calm character that he is, his revenge is more calculated, which leads to some interesting developments. I'd be lying if I said I didn't prefer the lack of action to action, since the violence is a little cartoony. This is not really a problem Puzo had in The Godfather, but he had it here. It just seems like the great set-up he made in establishing the plot was diminished when the action started to occur. It almost feels as if it was written by a different author.
There are also too many characters. Yes, you can keep track of all of them, but some of them feel a lot less necessary than others. Even so, as I mentioned earlier, Puzo was an effective writer, and I never felt bored with the book, even though there was a bit too much backtracking. It's a fairly enjoyable book and it doesn't leave a bad taste in your mouth. Though, now that I've finished it, my appreciation of it is already starting to wane. It's not The Godfather, but it's a fine novel to read on a plane ride.
View all my reviews