Picks and Pans Review: For the Sins of My Father

updated 09/09/2002 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/09/2002 AT 01:00 AM EDT

By Albert DeMeo

Most Mob stories can't help making heroes out of crooks. The truth, as told in this unsentimental memoir by the only son of a hit man in the Gambino crime family, is far darker.

While running errands in New York City's Little Italy, Albert learned from his dad, Roy, such nursery rhymes as "Two in the head, make sure they're dead." Later, over cappuccinos in gentlemen's clubs, father and son discussed the former's inevitable death.

When that day arrives, DeMeo already understands the futility of life in the Mafia. Forsaking his legacy, he lands a Wall Street job and starts a family. But when the extent of his father's crimes is publicly revealed in 1992's true-crime book Murder Machine, Albert loses everything: his job, his wife, his mind. Reclaiming his dignity with unsparing recollections, DeMeo finds that honesty is the road out of perdition. (Broadway, $24.95]

Bottom Line: A story you can't refuse

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