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.
5.0 out of 5 starsA Great Trilogy - A Great ReadBy Mike C. on May 30, 2016Format: Kindle Edition Verified PurchaseMercy Row Retribution was the best of the three. It captured my imagination and kept me turning pages. It's not often that I find a novel that keeps my interest high let alone a whole trilogy. You should read them all. The historical context seemed to be taking pages from my own life. The vivid descriptions made you feel like you were sitting on a chair in the corner of the room. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire Mercy Row series.....well done!Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? 4.0 out of 5 starsExciting and Fast PacedBy Frankie Brazelton on March 13, 2016Format: Kindle EditionMercy 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.
4.0 out of 5 starsDon't Mess with Gerry Amato and the Byrnes!By LuAnn Braley on April 3, 2016Format: Kindle EditionThere 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.Read more ›Comment Was this review helpful to you? 4.0 out of 5 starsFast-paced, thrilling readBy Majanka on May 30, 2016Format: Kindle EditionIn Mercy Row Retribution, Gerry Amota is the grandson of Jacob Byrne, head of a powerful North Philadelphia Irish crime family. Some of the family businesses are legitimate, others not so much. While serving the airforce during the Vietnam war, Gerry sees a way of making money by creating a marijuana smuggling cooperation. His organization soon sends ten of thousands of pounds of marijuana to Philadelphia a month. When a rival Paris gang tries to force Gerry to buy their product, this triggers a war between the Byrne family and the Paris mob.
I quite enjoyed reading about the exploits of the Byrne family. It surprised me how they could be so “good” on the one hand, and still be quite evil on the other, running orphanages while at the same time not hesitating to kill people. It was quite the contradiction, and you’d think it wouldn’t work well, but it did. The crooked standards made for an interesting read, and it was very engaging to dive into the minds of people like Gerry Amota, who have their own, although slightly off, code of moral conduct.
The book reads like an action movie. Gun fights, kidnapping, the mob, violence, and most of all revenge. It’s a fast-paced, thrilling read and I would recommend it to everyone who enjoys action movies, thrillers and crime fiction. I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.