Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Book Review: Pallbearers and Gamblers By Michael John Cruit

Pallbearers and Gamblers
By Michael John Cruit
Genre: Fiction

It’s 1971 and the Vietnam war rages.  Michael Dibiaso returns from his tour of duty in Vietnam and the army assigns him to a special unit that acts as pallbearers and honor guard for soldiers killed in the war.  These experiences turn Michael into a bitter opponent of the war.  After his discharge from the army he continues to attend funerals of fallen soldiers.

Michael’s family has been involved with the Chicago Mafia for years. His father had been good friends with Al Capone.  His brother Sergio works with the Mafia in their Stardust Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Sergio becomes embroiled in a fatal dispute with a Mafia capo and Michael gets involved.  The brothers decide to get revenge by stealing the year-end skim from the Desert Inn – seven million dollars.

My Review

Michael Cruit has written about such an important time period in our country's history. A time of war, both domestic and international. While the Vietnam war is in full force, the mafia battle is going strong on American soil. This novel is about a Vietnam vet named Michael who comes home from war and is introduced to a homefront battle that his brother Sergio has found himself in. Cruit doesn't hold back on the gritty lifestyle of mobsters and the victims who get intertwined into the criminal activity. 

Pallbearers and Gamblers has a focus on more than just war and crime, it also highlights family loyalty, love, and justice for victims. Though a lengthy read, I found it to be completely engrossing and worth every page turn. I highly recommend this one to those who enjoy historical fiction with a solid plot.

Author Bio 

Michael Cruit was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN.  He served three years in the United States Army, including thirteen months in Vietnam.  After his discharge he attended the University of Minnesota, earned a degree in sociology and entered the graduate program in social psychology.  In 1980 Mr. Cruit went to Costa Rica to write his dissertation, but never returned to the US.

Social psychology was not useful for survival in the rainforest and he endured several years of poverty.  He survived by panning for gold and making coconut oil, then paddling upriver six hours to the nearest town, where he sold the gold and coconut oil and purchased supplies. Eventually, he learned carpentry and made a decent living working on local construction projects.

There are no roads, no power lines, no phone lines anywhere near his house.  A pelton micro-hydro system provides enough electricity for lights, fridge and computer.  He still lives in the Costa Rican rain forest, with seven cats, five dogs, thousands of parrots, toucans and monkeys and billions of bugs.

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