Review

The Road to Paradise

by Max Allan Collins



Shall we raise a glass to Max Allan Collins? A few years ago
Collins received some long overdue mainstream praise for authoring
THE ROAD TO PERDITION, a gritty graphic novel that was transformed
into a film almost worthy of the subject matter. While Collins was
worthy of Grandmaster status well before its publication --- we're
talking about the guy who took over the reins of Dick Tracy from
Chester Gould, mind you --- THE ROAD TO PERDITION was, for many,
his breakthrough novel, despite having written and/or edited a
veritable library of novels theretofore. This led to the equally
good, if lesser known, sequel titled THE ROAD TO PURGATORY, which,
in turn, leads to THE ROAD TO PARADISE, a tome that is
appropriately named for several reasons.

THE ROAD TO PARADISE finds Michael Satariano comfortably
middle-aged in 1973, ensconced in his position as Entertainment
Director of the Cal-Neva Resort in Lake Tahoe with his wife of 30
years, a son in the Army serving in Vietnam, and a daughter who is
a beauty queen high school senior. His idyllic life (at least
compared to his life on the run in THE ROAD TO PERDITION) is
abruptly terminated by the unexpected arrival of Sam Giancana, who
orders Satariano to perform a hit on Sam DeStefano, a notorious
mobster who is about to stand trial. Satariano refuses. But the hit
occurs anyway, and Satariano finds himself inexplicably charged
with the murder.

Sought by DeStefano's associates and law enforcement personnel
alike, Satariano, in the interest of protecting his family, agrees
to enter a witness protection program in exchange for his testimony
against the mob. The family quietly and anonymously relocates, at
first successfully. But when things go suddenly and terribly awry,
Satariano, in an eerie reprise of his past, finds himself on the
road and on the run again, seeking swift and terrible revenge
against those who have wronged him. Collins's narrative here is
unequivocally first-rate, flawlessly merging the past and (the
novel's) present, bringing history and fiction together to produce
a believable, might-have-been story with a surprising and
satisfying denouement.

Collins, a prodigious craftsman, has provided not only a worthy
capstone to a fabulous trilogy but also what is arguably the summit
(to date) of a marvelous career. Anyone familiar with the quality
of Collins's previous work will find their expectations exceeded.
Those, on the other hand, who are encountering Collins for the
first time will be adding another name to their list of authors who
must be read. Highly recommended.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 23, 2011

The Road to Paradise
by Max Allan Collins

  • Publication Date: November 28, 2006
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTorch
  • ISBN-10: 9780060540326
  • ISBN-13: 9780060540326