Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Wolf: A Novel by Lorenzo Carcaterra

Book description:

In this thrilling novel by Lorenzo Carcaterra—the #1 New York Times bestselling author ofSleepers, Gangster, and Midnight Angels—organized crime goes to war with international terrorism in the name of one man’s quest for revenge.


My name is Vincent Marelli, though most people call me The Wolf. You’ve never met me, and if you’re lucky you never will. But in more ways than you could think of, I own you.

I run the biggest criminal operation in the world. We’re invisible but we’re everywhere. Wherever you go, whatever you do, however it is you spend your money, a piece of it lands in our pockets.

You would think that with that kind of power I would be invincible. You would be wrong. I made a mistake, one that a guy like me can never afford to make. I let my guard down. And because I did, my wife and daughters are gone. Murdered by terrorists with a lethal ax to grind.

That was my mistake.

But it was also theirs.

I wasn’t looking for a war with them. No one in my group was. But they’ve left me with nothing but a desire for revenge—so a war is what they’ll get. The full strength of international organized crime against every known terrorist group working today. Crime versus chaos.

We will protect our interests, and I will protect my son. We won’t get them all, but I will get my revenge, or I will die trying.

They will know my name.

They will feel my wrath.

They will fear The Wolf.

Not since The Godfather has there been a mobster who’s as much fun to root for as Vincent Marelli, aka “The Wolf”.  I heard about a lot of buzz coming out of 2014’s Book Expo America about The Wolf by Lorenzo Carcaterra.  I was thrilled to be able to get my hands on a copy and more thrilled once I started reading it.  This book packs a punch both literally and figuratively.


Carcaterra describes a mob that’s a lot more modern than other versions, from Mario’s Puzzo’s mob to more recent incarnations like the Sopranos.  This is a high-tech version that operates not so much in the shadows, but from behind so many legitimate fronts that they are hidden in plain sight.  What this mob shares with its literary predecessors though is absolute ruthlessness and iron will.


After his wife and daughters are killed in a terrorist attack, “The Wolf” is galvanized to protect his son and take action to lead all of the various world mafia organizations in an attack on international terrorism.  Not just to punish them, but to bring them to their knees.  These organizations are motivated not by any sort of altruistic feelings, but by the long-term threat to their bottom line posed by terrorism.


Vincent Marelli is a character you can both admire and fear.  None of the characters on either side of the conflict are pushovers.  Marelli has the tacit support of most of the world’s criminal organizations, but it’s clear that support is shallow and could disappear if Marelli’s will weakens or results are not forthcoming.  He is going up against terrorists with no scruples about civilian casualties.  The Wolf and his associates have those scruples, but they are otherwise unshackled from the rules of engagement that  sovereign nations and law enforcement alike are bound by.  The result is both a cat and mouse game and a ruthless battle.


The pace never slackens from the beginning to the end of this novel.  Along with his terrorist nemesis, Marelli must battle betrayal within his own organization as well.  This book is well written; there is not a wasted word.  Carcaterra ties up the story nicely, but leaves plenty to be explored in hoped for sequels. If you like crime novels, mob stories, or just a good thoughtful action thriller, pick up this book.  Highly recommended.

I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this book.