Interview with Harry Hallman Author of Mercy Row Retribution

Interview with Harry Hallman Author of Mercy Row Retribution

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: 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.”

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.”

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.

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.”


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.

Philly- A Kid’s Winter Wonderland

Another real story of growing up in North Philly on Mercy Row:

Philly- A Kid’s Winter Wonderland

When I was a kid growing up in Philly it was always a bit of a letdown after Christmas and New Year’s Day. The hubbub of the holidays was gone and people settled down to work and school. There wouldn’t be another day off until Presidents Day in February- Unless it snowed.

Snow- ahhhh it was like ambrosia to us kids. Yeah I know ambrosia is about taste and smell, but to me and my friends back then snow was better than the best Philly cheese steak. So forgive me for using that word. It didn’t matter if it was 1 inch or 2 feet we loved it.

Having a snow day was like winning the lottery. No school and all day out in the snow with occasional visits to the house for a sandwich or a cup of coco. What could be better? Only one thing: our sleds. Not everyone had a sled, but a metal trash can lid or even an old inner tube could substitute.

We were lucky because it seemed like we got a lot of snow in the 1950s and early 60s. I don’t know if it was more than now but as a kid it seemed like it. When the first flake fell we would excitedly look out the window every couple of minutes to see if the snow was “laying”. Every kid went to bed with high expectations that we would be hit with the largest snow fall in history. In the morning we would get out of bed and rush to the window, hearts beating fast and thinking about all the fun things we were going to do. When we had the first few flakes my Grandfather would say “I hope it keeps up.” We would say yeah and jump around the room. Then he would finish by saying “That way it won’t come down.”

Most of the time we were disappointed, but sometimes the snow was blanketing the dirty asphalt and concrete making the neighborhood a beautiful winter wonderland. By the end of the day the sidewalks would be crusted with gray and black ash from people’s coal furnaces (our answer to using salt) and the illusion of the pristine city evaporated. We didn’t care as long as the snow didn’t evaporate with it.

As I said, sleds were very important. In-between snowball fights and building snow forts, we would take our sleds to Howard and Clearfield Streets (just one block from my house) where Howard Street had the best hill. Down we would go, not thinking about any cars that might be coming across the intersection of Lippincott and Howard Streets. There were near misses for sure, but I never saw any accidents there.

Sometimes we would drag our sleds to McPherson Park between Clearfield Street and Indiana Ave and E and F Street. There was a library there and the largest area of grass in Kensington (I think). Not that it was that large, but to us it was just right. The hills made for great sledding competitions. Many hours of sliding through parked cars on Clearfield Street were had. Yeah sometimes we hit the cars, and a few times kids did get banged up, but hey it was a snow day!

When the snow melted from the streets we would eke out a few more sled rides going down a 10 foot embankment at one of the nearby factories. When the snow finally melted we would begin again to anticipate the next great snow storm.

So next time it snows (a rarity here in Atlanta) don’t bitch and moan. Go out and build a snow fort, sled down a hill or have a snow fight and remember your childhood.


Mercy Row Retribution Now on Amazon

My third book in the Mercy Row series- Mercy Row Retribution- is now available in EBook and Print form on Amazon.

Ebook Version…/…/
Printed Book Version…/

Story synopsis:
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.

Bonus Section
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.

Ebook Version…/…/
Printed Book Version…/