Mercy Row- Book 1
Mercy Row is a novel set in 1920s and ’30s Philadelphia. It is the story of the rise of a North Philadelphia crime family that was also responsible for building the homes and factories that make up this blue-collar area of the city.
Despite the violent trials and tribulations caused by rival gangs from South Philadelphia and Chicago, Jacob Byrne and Franklin Garrett, with the help of the Irish immigrants who settled the Kensington area, build a formidable Irish mob.
This legal and criminal enterprise kept North Philadelphia free from the mafia for two generations. Jacob’s and Franklin’s organization was built on the blood of those who opposed them, the sweat of the laborers who built North Philly and the tears of the wives and mothers whose loved ones were lost in the struggle.
Mercy Row Clann- Book 2
The Byrne family fights two wars. One for the freedom of the world and the other for the survival of their family.
It’s 1943 and America and its allies are at war with Germany and Japan. As World War 2 rages, the Byrne family must send their sons to war in Africa, Europe and the Pacific, while they fight a war at home instigated by old enemies, internal greed and new foes.
The Byrne children’s ability to protect and grow the family, and the North Philadelphia K & A Gang, is tested with violence, sorrow and love.
Mercy Row Retribution- Book 3
While serving as a pilot during the Vietnam War, Gerry Amato—the grandson of Jacob Byrne, the head of a powerful North Philadelphia Irish crime family—seizes the opportunity to create a lucrative marijuana smuggling operation. It’s 1967, and under the secrecy of a classified military operation, and with the assistance of a Marseille mob that owns plantations in Cambodia, he is able to send tens of thousands of pounds of marijuana to Philadelphia every month. His grandfather’s criminal enterprise distributes the drug to a population that has developed an insatiable appetite for the marijuana.
A rival Paris gang tries to force Amato to buy their product, which triggers war between the Byrne family and the Paris mob. From the steamy jungles of Vietnam and Cambodia to the streets of Saigon, Paris and Philadelphia, the ruthless actions of the Paris mob threaten to destroy the Byrne family.
Gerry Amato orchestrates a merciless campaign of retribution against his foes in order to save himself and his family.
In part two of Mercy Row Retribution—the third book in the Byrne family saga—it is April 1975 and South Vietnam is about to fall to the North Vietnamese communists. Gerry Amato fears that the communists will take revenge on the population, especially the children—many of whom are Amerasian—at an orphanage he supported and volunteered at during his time as a pilot. He orchestrates a rescue mission to retrieve the children and bring them to the United States. This takes him and his team into harm’s way in Thailand, across Cambodia and into war-torn Vietnam and back. The fates of 75 children and 30 adults rest squarely on Gerry’s shoulders.
Mercy Row Retribution includes a bonus section of short, true stories of the author and his friends’ experiences growing up in North Philly in the 1940s and 50s. This is a true reflection of what life was like for working-class kids growing up on the streets of Philadelphia
The Potato Thief- Prequel
I am working on a prequel of sorts for the Mercy Row series. The title is The Potato Thief. It is the story of how George Graham from the first novels ends up in Philadelphia. As young man in Ireland (1881) his father is dead and his brothers, sister and mother are starving farmers. A mini potato blight has hit the region and George decides to steal a sack of potatoes to help his family. He is caught and ends up in prison. Through a series of circumstances he escapes and has to leave Ireland.
He finds himself in the Irish Brigade of the French Foreign Legion and travels to Indochina to help fight rebels. Again through a series of circumstances he then travels to Philadelphia where he meets Charles Byrne and the two embark on a criminal life. Of course there is a lot more to it.
When this is finished I will write the fourth book in the Mercy Row story and continue the exploits of Gerry Amato.
The Potato Thief is taking longer to write than I thought because I have to research three different cultures and exotic locations. That said, I am moving along fairly well with the story.