The finale of Breaking Bad finally aired Sunday night, putting thousands of fans out of their misery. And all trying to second guess the ending of Vince Gilligan’s show. Unsurprisingly, it was adios to both Heisenberg and Walter White by the time the end credits rolled.
Just in case you didn’t know, author Jack O’Halloran has been many things in his lifetime. He was a professional Heavyweight Boxer from 1966 to 1974. He’s been an actor and worked in ten feature films (most notably Superman I and II) and done a fair share of television. He manages Long Beach Studios and he is an author. (Information courtesy of Wikipedia)
This man has been busy.
His first book is Family Legacy. A story about a young man who, after being told that his father died in the second world war, finds out that he is alive and well. Not only did he not die, he’s Albert Anastasia, aka Umberto Anastasio, aka the head of Murder Inc. One of the most notorious men in the history of organised crime.
This young man’s name is Jack Pagano. A “normal” high school student who is a star football player and who has a friend called Rip who teaches him about self-defence and other useful things.
When Jack comes home to find Albert Anastasia sitting in his kitchen drinking coffee with his mother, he’s surprised. He’s even further surprised when he finds out that Albert is his “dead” father.
Jack doesn’t have very long to let this new information sink in before Anastasia is murdered while getting his hair cut. Jack is immediately thrust into the world of organised crime and he begins the long road toward his destiny.
This was an entertaining first book. Based on real characters who were active in the world of crime and politics back in the 1950’s and 60’s. Using this “real world” base for his starting block, the book feels almost like a “true crime” novel instead of a work of fiction. We follow Jack as he learns who he can trust and who he cannot.
We also feel his confusion when the lines between friend and foe become blurred putting his life and those he loves in danger. Events in the book run up to the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas on the 22nd of November 1963 and the after effects of this obscene act. The book ends in a way that leads me to believe that there are more stories about Jack and his new cronies in the secret world of the Mafia.
The canvas of the book includes the Kefauver hearings and the machinations of Joe Kennedy and others behind the scenes who insured that JFK would win the election. It also shows the tensions of the Cuba crisis from the personal level of Jack’s new girlfriend as well as the publicised paranoia.
I enjoyed the book and gave it a 4 out of 5 stars because the book, to me, lagged in places. I was not expecting a breakneck pace, but, in order to give all the background it tends to slow down and distract from the overall action. It does not happen often and certainly not enough to hurt the book. But it did cause me to drop that fifth star.
Great book and one wonders if it is somewhat autobiographical in nature as O’Halloran himself revealed that he is the son of the infamous Anastasia. I don’t know about that, but I do know that he’s lead an interesting and varied life and it shows in his first book.
Bravo Jack. I want to read more about Jack Pagano and his “rise” in the organisation.
I never watched Lost when it was running on the telly. I watched the ‘pilot’ episode and saw that the survivors of the plane crash were on an island and they were, for the most part, immaculate. That sort of put me right out of the moment.
A couple of critics mentioned the “unreality” of the series and I just ‘lost’ interest before the series got started. I did catch the odd program now and then, usually when I was channel hopping, but it never really caught my interest for very long. I also tuned in for the ‘big finish’ but I really couldn’t tell you what it entailed or why everyone was so miffed at the ending.
Just recently, after reading a few articles on the web, my daughter’s and my interest was piqued enough about the long running show to watch a few episodes via a rental shop, but never got around to watching any of the episodes.
Then Netflix added them and we decided to take a break from our ritualistic viewing of Come Dine With Me and watch season one.
We were hooked from episode one of season one.
Watching the show now, I cannot help but wonder, what the hell was I thinking? The show is, quite simply, amazing. The creators managed to create a verse where rules were not only broken, but re-written as well. The Lost ‘verse’ is a serendipitous maze where everyone, it seems, on the island have crossed paths and interacted with their fellow ‘inmates’ well before their incarceration on the island.
I don’t know why I was so against watching the show when it first came out in 2004 or why I shunned it afterwards. I only know that if I had watched it during it’s initial run, it would have driven me crazy waiting for the next episode and what questions and answers it would bring.
It appears that J.J. Abrams and co. captured that elusive ‘lightning in a bottle’ that so many film and television creators dream of but never find. I can’t think of many television programs that have managed to so effectively and regularly knock the metaphorical ball out of the park on a regular basis.
Dallas may fall in this category, the lightning in a bottle category, as it was wildly popular in much the same way as Lost. And even though the stories and plot devices for each show was different they do both boil down to the same type of show.
Not the simple everyday Soaps like As the World Turns, All my Children, or The Days of our Lives, but a sort of Grand Guignol version of a soap opera. Dallas was definitely a soap opera for everyone, not just bored housewives or unemployed members of society trying to escape for a couple of hours each day. Dallas was soap opera for the masses.
And so was Lost.
I can only shake my head in amazement and confusion at my stubborn refusal to watch the show when it originally aired from 2004 to 2010. My biorhythms must have been completely out of whack. But thanks to Netflix, my daughter and I can get caught up in the trials and tribulations of Jack, Sawyer, Kate, Locke, and all the others on their voyage on the island.
They are like a twisted version of Gilligan’s Island. With Hurley as the mega-rich Mr Howell. Jack could be the professor, but I’m still working on who the others would be in this allegorical mishmash idea. So I’ll continue to watch and marvel at the wonders that Lost brings to the viewing table.
I guess in a way, I’m glad I didn’t watch Lost during it’s heyday, waiting anxiously each week for the next episode.
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