The Mafia, Asian drug-lords, and Wall Street financiers wage an all-out war for control of the world's multi-billion-dollar heroin trade, while a lawman fights a battle for his own soul. 75,000 first printing. $75,000 ad/promo. ... Read more
Customer Reviews (8)
Trinities is a book that explores the psychology of the two main characters, Johnny, a brilliant family man (read mafia) who is trapped in a low paying union job despite his family ties, and his uncle, an even more brilliant mafia don (retired) who is trapped in his dying body and the laxidazical world he views through his aging eyes.
As Johnny longs to escape through midlife crisis angst, his uncle longs for one last splash of the glory days before he dies. If the reader cannot truly immerse the heart into these two personalities, the reader will lose perspective and simply classify the book as a genre piece of some sort.
I have listened to this book on audio cassette at least seven times - until the tapes gave out - and will buy it again just to have it in my library.
Give it a shot. It's good.
Good Writer, Pretentious Effort
I loved Tosches' bio of Jerry Lee, Hellfire, but Trinities was a great disappointment, especially since it didn't have to be. Tosches had the makings of a terrific thriller. But the central character and plot are unbelievable.
The book starts with Johnny DiPietro, nephew of an old Mafia don, fulfilling a contract for his uncle. He drives, his buddy does the shooting. To Johnny, the victim is not a person, but Johnny's "new transmission" for his car. He's a slimeball, and thus far rendered believable, ala Elmore Leonard. There is a reference that, as a youth, he had a thirst for knowledge, and that he had at one time read good books. Aside from this, Johnny gives no sense of authority, high intelligence, or competency. Then his uncle, who wants to take over the world's heroin market, decides to use Johnny as his representative in the biggest (and least plausible ) dope deal in the history of crime fiction. Suddenly Johnny, who's making twenty-five grand a year in a union job, is transformed into a wizard with the ability to:
1- Negotiate a billion dollar drug deal with a stereotyped crafty, unfathomable Chinese Triad boss
2- Has a tremendous facility with numbers
3- Is knowledgeable about international banking, finance, the Asian drug market, crops, weapons systems, customs brokerage, and much much much more ( he can do no wrong, make no false step )
4- Is conversant with, and actively thinks about, Dante, Socrates ( whom he criticizes as arrogant for his admonition to "Know thyself", since knowing oneself is impossible), and Milton's Paradise Lost.
There is no sense of irony to tell us this is all meant as parody. Rather, Toshces presents this in a serious tone, with a lot of "deep" perception from the previously thuggish Johnny, that alerts the reader to the fact that Johnny is really Tosches' representative more than his uncle's; it is the author's concerns put into Johnny's mind, and as such they become, especially in the penultimate chapter, more pretentious than they would have if we had been given a realistic character who was fully developed. Johnny loses all credibility, as does the preposterous plot.
Tosches is very talented. He has done abundant research. With the Chinese Triads he had a good subject that wasn't written to death. But all this was lost under the creaky, potboiler plot and the unbelievable Johnny.
Johnny tells us there is no good or evil, but tries to convince us he's a nice guy anyway. To rationalize shipping billions of dollars of heroin into New York, he says the drug addicts deserve it. "If the scum of humanity craved heroin, so be it. Let the self-oppressors go down together, down to the wasteland of gutted souls and assembly-line minds." And he calls Socrates arrogant?
The divergence in reader/editorial opinions is fascinating
Seldom have I sign such a strong divergence in reviews on an Amazon site.For those who found the characters wooden or hackneyed, I would refer them back to the scenes of Johnny in the Inglese Gardin in Sicily and how he experiences fear after a vicious attack on his life.I never saw any description of fear and panic as memorable and detailed as Tosches renders in any Mario Puzo novel, or many authors of much better calibre than Puzo.
For those who found the Chinese characters hard to fathom, Johnny's dinner with the character Silk early in the book is one of the best popularized explanations of Chinese history and philosophy you're liked to ever read.And the author's treatment of the differences in Mandarin, Cantonese, and Fujianese rings true.How many readers knew there were 7 different dialects in Chinese, with major tonal and structural differences between them?Outside of native Chinese speakers, very few I would guess.The author provides great insight into this and makes it a key plot element in the meetings between warring Triads.
The novel has tremendous scope; it is very obvious that Tosches has been there and really soaked up the atmosphere.Yes, it is violent, sometimes hyper-violent.But why would you expect the world of people who sell drugs in billion dollar lots not to be?
There are definitely some implausible plot elements.Interestingly, the characters comment indirectly on that point a couple of times in moments of introspection.But nothing that blew up the experience of reading the book.
At the end of the reading, I felt like I had been in every locale, that I knew every character, and that I learned a lot about the Italian, Sicilian, and Chinese languages.I learned a lot of history, which I suspect was a lot more accurate than some of the history in The Da Vinci Code.Finally, I had been on one wild ride!
This is not Pulitzer material, but it is a solid effort with some well turned phrases.There is more atmosphere in this book and than you'll find in 90% of crime fiction.Go get this book if you have any interest in either Italian or Chinese culture and history.You'll be rewarded with many interesting facts while experiencing a cracking good plot.
Reads like nonfiction
This is one of the best crime thrillers I've read, and I think that'sbecause it reads like nonfiction -- there's strong emotion and characterdevelopment, but it's told through the action, the culture, and thesettings, not so much by getting into the individual characters' heads.Icouldn't put this book down.Tosches' Lower Manhattan locales --Chinatown, Little Italy -- are right on: gritty, rich with character andhistory, uniquely beautiful and scary at once.The characters arenot-so-loosely based on real figures in NYC organized crime.For fans ofjournalistic accounts of crime and city life this is a must read.
At 450 pages too long
This had to be one of the most boring books that I have ever read.At 450 pages it seemed like 1,500.The characters are unsympathetic and who lives, who dies, by the time the book is over you don't care anymore.Theauthor uses Italian phrases throughout the book and after the first 10 or20 it gets especially annoying. I thought that after reading"Dino" I would give Tosches another try.No more.
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