5 stars for being thought-provoking and dramatic
4 stars for entertainment and overall plot
I am a sucker of mafia-like movies or shows. I run a Godfather cinema-therapy every couple of years. Or have a Scarface movie day. Or a Mobsters marathon! Currently Boardwalk Empire, an HBO series, has caught my interest. All that said, this Alfonzo saga is epic and fits right up there with the best of them[ It's like a movie, I tell ya!
It is a different experience reading a story steeped in the bloody, suspenseful and romanticized mafia world. Scenes zip by fast, and characters, villains, innocents, or rats, get whacked. Recurring or new characters either grow with importance to the plot or blur in familiarity to colour the background. S.W. Frank is good at including all of this while still keeping the reader on edge.
In this installment of the Alfonzo series, Anarchy, the plot centers on Alfonzo's acceptance of his fate and what he can actually do with his ill-wrought legacy. He is content to hold this awesome power so long as his wife is by his side--so long as he can still have a family. However, Frank is ballsy with this transition plot because it is evenly doled out with pivotal scenes of Alfonzo's growing potential as a Don and increments of secondary character motivation:from interesting and surprising, new side-relationships to the ponderous yoda-tactics of the veteran, Alberti, a man who is like the silent, yet omnipotent force that keeps Alfonzo Giacanti-Diaz's power afloat.
Before you know it, dramatic irony renders you speechless as revelations abound. You feel like the author is jerking you around, playing with the preconceived notions with which you have comfortably attached to familiar characters, and analytically, you know this has to happen in order to keep the drama
S.W. Frank sure does keep the drama alright. My only qualm remains with the character, Selange. In Vol.I, I thought she was left underdeveloped, forgotten. Her initial pomp and circumstance not living up to the words in the image at the end. Then, in Vol.II, she gained some headway as a contending character, but she was still over-shadowed by how her husband and other men viewed her. It's a little irritating and shines a dubious light on the heroine that is hugely eclipsed by the attention on the hero.
So, in the end, here is the status quo: war is far from over; ascension to power is but a fledgling thing; and secrets are created in a stealth that is both acute and numbing. No character is safe. Not even Alfonzo.So, who wouldn't read the next one?
I'm still hooked.