A fervent love for ‘The Godfather‘ (as you’ll know if you read this review) led me to read ‘The Last Don’. It was, to put it mildly, a disappointment.
The novel opens well enough. Thinking about it, the opening was as good as, even better than ‘The Godfather’. Which is what fooled me. It ends up turning into a long-winded rant on Hollywood, Hollywood studios, Hollywood actors, Hollywood writers, Hollywood re-writers..You get the drift. Mercifully enough, Puzo doesn’t take his time about it. Once you’ve read three chapters, you know what’s in store.
The novel aims high, very high and hits rock bottom. The Clericuzio Family is the biggest Mafia Family in the United States. But the Don Clericuzio has other plans for his family. He wants to close up operations to enable his future generations to enjoy the money and power that the Family has built up, as law-abiding citizens of the country. But his grandsons and fierce rivals Cross De Lena and Dante Clericuzio do not seem to share the sentiment. Enemies since childhood, the two cannot wait to get their hands on each other. Add to this Hollywood glamour and the thrill of Las Vegas and there you have it. A dumbed-down Sidney Sheldon book that lacks the imagination and suspense of Mario Puzo’s magnum opus ‘The Godfather’.
If you haven’t read ‘The Godfather’, you might find this a good read but definitely not, otherwise. Too many chapters, too little intrigue. I realize I haven’t said anything remotely good about this effort. I’ve been scratching my head for a while but hey, I did say the opening was terrific. Phew!
Sorry Mario Puzo, but this one quite simply didn’t cut it.
P.S. A television mini-series based on the book was produced by CBS in 1997. A second installment followed in 1988. I wonder why.