Mercy Row Series Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars
Harry Hallman does a great job in describing the plight of the oppressed Irish ...
This prequel to the Mercy Row series takes the reader to exotic places with action packed adventure. Harry Hallman does a great job in describing the plight of the oppressed Irish under England during the potato blight , Cuba under Spain and the Vietnamese under the French and the Irish Catholics in America.. A lesson in History, important history, seldom mentioned. The Novel stands alone as a wonderful, educational and entertaining book and augments, nicely the first three MERCY ROW novels from this talented writer.
The 'Mercy Row' trilogy is a roller-coaster ride of suspense, action, personal relationships and family loyalties. Book three takes place in the Philly I knew, same time and place. A powerful and dynamic coda for the Byrne clan of the first two books in the series.. Harry Hallman captures the attitude and atmosphere perfectly in all three volumes. I could almost smell the cheesesteaks and soft pretzels wafting through the gunpowder. Good on you, Mr. Hallman.
Four Stars- Don't Mess with Gerry Amato and the Byrnes!
There are several distinct sections in Mercy Row Retribution by Harry Hallman. The first is when Gerry is a pilot in Vietnam. Being part of a crime family, he begins flying marijuana growing in country back home for further distribution.
There is a specially riveting scene when they are flying, shortly before Gerry's discharge. Part of the trip involves getting some orphans out of a war-torn area, the other part is picking up some drugs. Once most of the trip is done, they get shot down. Two of the soldiers survive (Gerry being one) and there is a rather dramatic rescue.
But home in Philly is not much safer, due to the nature of his family's business. Rival gangs in and out of the city, in and out of the country were trying to wedge into the Byrne family business. There was a lot of living and dying by the sword going on.
There is a natural tendency to want to empathize with the main character, and I felt that with Gerry Amato. But then his family's business made money off the weakness and suffering of others with the drug trade and whatever other illegal activities in which they were engaged. On the other hand, his aunt (whose name was Mercy) ran the Mercy Row charitable organization that helped the local poor with food and shelter, etc. A lot of the funds from the organization came from the sale of stolen goods.
I had more than the usual amount of internal debate about 'good' and 'bad' with Mercy Row Retribution. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Ignorance and innocence is not the same thing. If we want to be 'good' we have to know what is 'bad'. (That works the other way around, too.)
There is one point where I felt particularly akin to the Byrne family. In an act of revenge, the rival French gang kidnaps and assaults one of the young female Byrnes. I cannot truthfully say I would not at least be tempted to sort the matter out a la Byrne. if someone tried to hurt one of my children.
The part that was most difficult for me was the acts of violence committed in and around Notre Dame in Paris. It does serve to heighten the contrast between good an evil. This scene evoked a similar response in me as when I hear of church, temple or mosque shootings or bombings.
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.
Will Ryan- Amazon. Five Stars
The Epic of the Byrne Family Continues in a Terrific Sequel by a Compelling Writer
Harry Hallman has outdone himself in this sequel to his previous book, "Mercy Row: A Philadelphia Story." The Byrne family epic continues, taking us through the tumultuous World War II years. Hallman has meticulously researched the era and the city of Philadelphia, and he provides a view of the time and place no one, as far as I know, has ever taken. Although the story is filled with gang action and there's a new fight or adventure on almost every other page, Hallman makes the era so vivid and so intense you feel as if you've lived though it. The description of the city transit strike, a comment on waling as an ancient industry in Cape May, New Jersey, the feel for the food and the streets and the people, the complex and sometimes conflicting motivations of family and business, the unrelenting pressure from rivals within and without the city, brings the reader so deeply into the story it's hard to put the book down. I burned right through it in two long readings. Although it's a page turner, it's also a book to be savored and enjoyed as a vision of a time not so far distant but now almost lost and forgotten. Mario Puzo move over, you've met your master.
FOUR STARS- Clann Rocks! Great Continuation of the Mercy Row story. JuneI'm really starting to like the Byrne family... Seriously flawed senses of right and wrong, but such a strong sense of family and community. Lots of great stuff going on in the new chapter of the Mercy Row story. Harry Hallman tells a great story, and it's interesting to watch his writing progress book to book. What's next???
Review on Blog HOGWASH-
"I was worried when I was asked to read Mercy Row Clann that I wasn’t going to be able to adequately follow the story line, as I hadn’t yet had a chance to read the book’s prequel Mercy Row. But as some soon as I started to read I knew that this enthralling story was an absolute stand alone! The book centers around the multi-fronted perils of two Philadelphia crime families during World War II. The story line weaves through the deep cultural roots of the Italian-American & Irish-American’s legacies as they fight to stay together in a competitive and cutthroat joint illicit business. All of Mr. Hallman’s individual characters are impressively complex; even the periphery characters. There is one thrilling scene where Mr. Hallman is writing from the point of view of a German bomber pilot as he’s strafing an American ship! The plot ties itself up neatly and left me super stoked to go back and read Mercy Row and I anxiously await the next installment. This book kept me intrigued from start to end, and I highly recommend it as not only an exciting read, but also as cool peek into the lives and history of native Philadelphians from a native Philadelphian who actually is writing from his own experiences! " First review of my second book, Mercy Row Clann, in the Mercy row FIVE STARS "I found a refreshing, not often found, variety in Mercy Row Clan. World war two, men going and coming from the service, the local strife placed on the public with rationing and restrictions and most of all mothers agony over serving sons. I witnessed much of this as a small child and it would do all well to read what is was like in the 1940's war era at home in the nation's arsenal: Philadelphia. This is not a war story, but takes place at that time and is a continuation of " MERCY ROW" a novel about the same families in the 1920's and 30"s. The gangs and Families , the neighborhood and many of the advents are real, there is love, violence, sorrow, and happiness and accurate history in this book. I hope there is a continuation of this series….I can't wait. "
First review of the new Audible audio version of Mercy Row.
"5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping story! Absolutely brilliant. May 8, 2014 By Savannah Murphy Format:Paperback This is exactly what historic fiction SHOULD be. From the opening paragraph, all the way through, I was completely riveted. This story has everything: violence, romance, gangsters, history. Harry Hallman paints a vivid picture with his gripping writing style and compelling characters. I can't wait to read the next book" "I was quickly sucked into the world of Jacob, Frank and their associates. I loved the loyalty and friendship between these two. Also, Mr. Hallman’s depiction of these “gangs” is reminiscent of “Boardwalk Empire.” He doesn’t depict the day by day activities of the gangs, just enough info for the reader to get a feel for the characters of Jacob and Frank and how they operated. And the action is relentless. Tommy guns, speakeasies, dames, corruption all feature prominently." -
I read a Book Once- Amanda Amaya - " The characters are quite colorful with even more colorful language, but none of it is gratuitous. The language and the people and their way of life are just right for the times and the neighborhood. This isn’t a feel-good story even though family plays an important role to these men. This tale is gritty and brutal and captivating. Hallman does a great job of telling the story of Jacob Byrne and his big dreams of dominating North Philly." -
Natasha Jackson for Readers' Favorite - "Harry did an excellent job with the dialogue; I felt it was spot on for that area and time period. I would have liked to have read more descriptions of the neighborhood, but could clearly visualize each colorful character. I especially enjoyed the story behind the title. I think it captured the essence of the Byrne family." -