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Religion! What Religion? It’s complicated.

Religion! What Religion? It’s complicated.

I have a spot in my office where I display a few items from my youth. I have a statue of Buddha that was blessed by a monk and a set of Catholic rosary beads that belonged to my mother. There is also a baby book my mother kept about me that says I was Christened at St. Simon Episcopal Church on August 20, 1944. I also have a “chop” with my name in Chinese that I bought in China and there is a New Testament I was given on April 12 1953 when I would have been nine years old.

That book is now 63 years old. The inscription on the inside says “Harry Hallman accepted Christ in his heart on this day- April 12th 1953.” In the back of the book there are various prayers and something I wasn’t expecting: The lyrics to the National Anthem, America the Beautiful and My Country “Tis Thee. I also have my Vietnam Campaign Medal and an Air Force Commendation medal in that display.

I really had not thought about it much but that little display is a snapshot not only of my life, but also my religious activity and early beliefs. I was baptized Episcopalian, but I never remember going to that denomination church. I got that New Testament from going to Sunday school at some protestant church nearby. Not sure the denomination, but I remember the teacher. She was a very nice lady and she gave out candy as a reward for learning the bible. That was enough incentive for me to read the bible so I could answer the questions.

When I was about 12 I took catechism lessons and became Roman Catholic. I was baptized and confirmed. All my friends were Catholic so I wanted to fit in. It was cool and I liked the traditions. When I joined the Air Force my dog tags said I was Catholic. By the time I was one year into my almost two years in Vietnam I was starting to like the Buddhist philosophy. It was based on the same principles as Christianity for the most part. My wife gave me the Buddha I have in my display.

If you asked me now what my spiritual beliefs are I would have to say they are a combination of science, and some of the doctrines I learned from Sunday school, catechism lessons, and what I have read about Eastern religions. I would say it is very complicated. Way too complicated to discuss in a post.

I have received blessings from Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims as well as well wishes from Atheists and Agnostics in my life time. While they may not have reflected my overall belief system I received them happily. I accept all people’s beliefs as long as those beliefs are not to harm, but rather to help. I guess you might say I am a Tolerant, and that is something the world and our country needs right now.

Dancing on Air

I’m dancing on air over this review for Mercy Row Retribution I just received from Bradley Knox of Hogwash Thirteen Blog. Well as much as an elderly overweight man can dance.

“In this third in the Mercy Row Trilogy, Harry Hallman has really hit his stride as a world class writer!

This book follows the legacy of a north Philadelphia crime family into the 60s, specifically Gerry’s exploits during a tour as a pilot in Vietnam, and his impact back home in his Philadelphia
neighborhood. Mr. Hallman’s vivid and descriptive prose keeps you burning through the pages of this book, and his ability to tell a tale is beyond compare! Action packed, epic, and a number of surprises. I believe that this third book is his strongest yet, and I am anxiously awaiting the next! Very much worth the time it took to get this one, Harry! Knocked it out of the park. Highly recommended!”

Interview with Harry Hallman Author of Mercy Row Retribution

Interview with Harry Hallman Author of Mercy Row Retribution

http://www.literarylunespublications.com/author-interview-with-harry-hallman-mercyrow1/

Another great review of my newest novel Mercy Row Retribution

Another great review of my newest novel Mercy Row Retribution by the blog Book Are Love. Take a look:

https://hello-booklover.tumblr.com/ scroll down to see review.

“This is a enthralling look at the dichotomy of a family of crime-their feelings, emotions, beliefs and their look at right and wrong and where they draw the line, and actions. A fast paced book where we see crime plus humanity done by the men and women in this book. 
We begin with looking at a reckless but caring pilot named Gerry Amota in the Vietnam war. While there we see a dichotomy in his actions and feelings- he helps orphans and visits them even loving them, he helps a cab driver and yet finds a way to make money in the racquet of selling marijuana. This becomes a family venture-mom launders the money with her charitable foundation of Mercy Row. So we have a crime family with a charitable foundation and members of this family showing us their softer side via running orphanages, feeling the homeless etc.-giving us the dichotomy on their emotions as well as their motives and behavior.

Make no mistake though this book shows both sides of the coin for these men-the violence and goodness. Showing where they draw the line and blur it. What they find to be right and wrong and their justification. You get a addictive look at the good, the bad and the ugly of these men and how they feel and motives. A truly fascinating book looking at the dichotomies of this crime family and their ways.”

Mercy Row Retribution Review

Another review of Mercy Row Retribution:

“Mr. Hallman’s writing is distraction-free, meaning that I could find no faults that might have detracted from my enjoyment of the story. Mercy Row Retribution is one very thought-provoking and well-written read.”

http://backporchervations.blogspot.com/

Two New Reviews for Mercy Row Retribution

“Review by Frankie Brazelton
7 Muddy Crowns

Mercy Row Retribution is an enthralling peek at the dynamics of a mob family and their operations. From smuggling drugs and dealing out recompense to supporting an orphanage and giving to charitable causes, the Byrne family walks their own defined line of ethics. Hallman’s fast-paced crime novel is an interesting perspective on what is right and what is legal.”
http://mudvilledames.com/blog/mercy-row-retribution

Another review of Mercy Row Retribution

“A fast paced addictive read with facts we who were not in the Vietnam War should know about. Crime plus humanity in Philadelphia.”

 

Author Interview

I did an interview for Freda Hansburg’s blog. She is a book reviewer. Take a look.

http://fredahansburg.weebly.com/blog/author-interview-with-harry-hallman-mercy-row-retribution

Audio Version of Mercy Row Retribution

I just approved the final audio for the audio book version of Mercy Row Retribution. It takes about 10 days to 2 weeks for Audible to post it for sale. Excited. This is my forth Audio Book on Audible.

Review of Mercy Row Retribution

Just wanted to review a couple of recent reviews of my new novel Mercy Row Retribution. It is available on Amazon.

“Review by Frankie Brazelton
7 Muddy Crowns

Mercy Row Retribution is an enthralling peek at the dynamics of a mob family and their operations. From smuggling drugs and dealing out recompense to supporting an orphanage and giving to charitable causes, the Byrne family walks their own defined line of ethics. Hallman’s fast-paced crime novel is an interesting perspective on what is right and what is legal.”

http://mudvilledames.com/blog/mercy-row-retribution

 

Ukgardenfiend rated it really liked it

A fast paced addictive read with facts we who were not in the Vietnam War should know about. Crime plus humanity in Philadelphia.

A Lesson Learned

When you write you often draw from your experiences. This true story helped my write a segment in my novel Mercy Row Clann.

A Lesson Learned- Growing Up In North Philly

Not proud of this one, but hey if you’re a story teller you tell the bad and the good. This was bad.

When I was about 17 I had a friend from school that lived near Indian and 25th Street. It was one of the few Italian neighborhoods in North Philly and it was a rough one. My friend had joined the Navy and his mom was giving him a going away party. He invited me and told me to bring some of my friends from my neighborhood.

At that time I had a 1950 Ford I bought for $15 so we all jumped in the Ford and took off to the party. He had invited all of his friends from the neighborhood and it was a packed house. I drank a bit too much and had taken forty dollars out of my pocket to give a guy a fiver to buy some more beer. I didn’t know it but I guess a couple guys saw I had a few bucks.

At one point I asked if I could lie down on an upstairs bed as I was feeling very woozy. My friend said yes and so I did. The next thing I know I was being punched in the face. It kind of woke me up. The second punch knocked me off the bed and as I looked up from the floor I saw a large foot come, what seemed slowly but wasn’t, toward my face.

I have to say I actually didn’t feel any pain, but I was so pissed off that someone would hit me that I started to yell and get up. Two guys ran out of the room, just before my four friends came in. I told them what happed and they were ready to turn the place out. My friend’s mother and owner of the house, begged us not to start any trouble so we agreed to just leave.

One friend that had not been drinking so he went to get the car. They others helped me down the steps. Just as I got on the sidewalk someone jumped from the porch and hit me on the back of the head. Another friend had just opened the back door to the car and luckily I was propelled into the back seat.

It was the oddest feeling. I could hear everything, but couldn’t see or move. What I heard was bdellium. I learned a day later what had happened. When the kid hit me in the back of the head my friend Bob (he was a tough kid) punched my assailant in the face and knocked him out. This started a riot. We were five, less me not able to move in the back seat, against 40.

One friend opened the car trunk and took out a tire iron and started to flail it around to keep them away. At one point the tire iron stopped and it was pulled out of his hand and someone hit him with it.

There were several bars nearby and when they heard the noise they emptied out and joined the crowd against us. Just when it really looked bad someone yelled that the cops were coming and my friends were able to get into the car. Two of them propped me up between them in the back seat and we were off.

At this point I was starting to be able to see and I looked at the friend on the right and his face was bloody and bruised. I looked at my friend on the left and he had a bump on his forehead, blood on his lip and a broken hand. They looked at each other and started to laugh. As we made our way east on Allegheny Avenue back to Front Street we were all laughing.

The next day we went back and apologized to the mother and we were hoping we would see some of the kids that jumped us. Fortunately we did not.

Oh right, lesson learned. Never, ever flash any money around people you don’t know. And maybe you shouldn’t drink too much.

By the way, they never did get my money.