Monday, March 28, 2016

Top 10 Gangsters in Movies, Books and Television Poor Boy Road by James L. Weaver

The main character to my new book Poor Boy Road is a leg breaker for the Kansas City mafia who wants out, so it’s no surprise I was asked to provide my Top 10 Gangsters in Movies, Books or Television. That’s a lot of ground to cover and a very subjective topic that is likely to generate some “How in the #$@& can you leave so-and-so off your list” posts.

To that end, a disclaimer - my list hasn’t been painstakingly vetted. I didn’t go back and research every movie, television show or book about the mob ever created. What follows are the names that floated up when I sat back on my couch with a drink and a pen. The ones you remember are the ones that touched you in some shape or form. So, take it with a grain of salt. Not everyone here is going to conform to the varied lists on the Net.

10. Michael Keaton – Johnny Dangerously. I know! An unconventional pick right out of the box, but I always loved this corny, slapstick comedy. I always remembered Michael Keaton carrying chewing gum in a cigarette case and doing a little anti-smoking PSA during the film.

9. Margos Dezarian – The Shield. The Shield is in my top five TV programs of all time and Kurt Sutter’s portrayal of foot chopping Armenian mob hitman Margos Dezarian was creepy as hell. If you haven’t watched the Shield, stop reading and burn some Netflix hours up. Seriously.

8. Frank Lucas – American Gangster. Denzel Washington played the role to perfection – the classic rise to power story. Then again, how can you not love Denzel?

7. Tony Soprano – The Sopranos. I know, only number seven?!?! James Gandolfini was fantastic in this role, though I have to admit I didn’t see the entire series. I fully realize I’m putting my Man Card out there for suspension with that statement.

6. Vincent Vega – Pulp Fiction. I loved John Travolta’s portrayal of this deep thinking hitman. Technically, he not linked to the mob, but it’s organized crime and it’s my list so Vincent gets on there.

5. Jules Winnfield – Pulp Fiction. Can’t have Vincent without his partner Jules. So cool and calm with the perfect amount of righteous indignation at being placed on brain detail. Would love to have a drink with Samuel L. Jackson.

4. Frank Costello – The Departed. Jack Nicholson? Enough said.

3. Tony Montana – Scarface. Al Pacino’s portrayal of the ruthless, power hungry Cuban immigrant turned gangster was awesome. Nobody can forget the chain saw shower scene or Tony announcing his little friend.

2. Tommy DeVito – Goodfellas. Joe Pesci played this part perfectly, able to flip from so caught up in Little Man Syndrome that he stabs a made guy to death and sitting down minutes later for dinner with his mother. Just don’t be late bringing Tommy his drink.

1. Vito Corleone – The Godfather. While the Godfather isn’t my favorite mob movie of all time, you gotta give it up to Marlon Brando. He set the bar.

I’m sure there’s others that trip your trigger more than mine! Feel free to throw in your favorites.

Poor Boy Road
Jake Caldwell
Book One
James L. Weaver

Genre: Thriller

Publisher: Lakewater Press

Date of Publication: March 21, 2016

ISBN 978-0-9944511-2-5
ISBN: 978-0-9944511-3-2

Number of pages: 251
Word Count: approx. 78,000

Cover Artist: E.L Wicker

Book Description:

As a mob enforcer, Jake Caldwell is in the dark business of breaking kneecaps and snapping bones. But each job sends him one step closer to turning into the man he swore he’d never become—his violent and abusive father. Leaving the mob is easier said than done. When his boss offers a bloody way out, Jake has no choice but to take it, even if it means confronting ghosts of old.

Arriving in his Lake of the Ozarks hometown, Jake has two things on his mind: kill ruthless drug lord Shane Langston and bury his dying father. What he doesn’t expect is to fall in love all over again and team up with his best friend Bear, the Sheriff of Benton County, to take Langston down. Racing through the countryside searching for Langston, the web of murder, meth and kidnapping widens, all pointing toward a past Jake can’t escape and a place he never wanted to return—Poor Boy Road.

Second Excerpt

“Jake,” Jason Keats said as if greeting an old friend. The room reeked of earthy-toned cigar smoke. Keats pulled his black-suited frame from a leather recliner. His skin was cold and clammy as they shook hands. His peppered hair slicked back with too much gel. “How’s things?”
“Been better. I need to bail for a few days. My old man’s dying and my sister needs me back home.”
“Sorry to hear it. You close with your dad?”
“Any particular reason?”
“He’s an asshole.” He handed Keats the envelope. “Two grand from Carlos.”
“He had it, eh?”
“Yeah, shocked me, too.”
Keats thumbed through the money in the envelope and raised it to his scarred nose, sniffing.
“Doesn’t smell like Carlos. Smells like you.”
Jake shrugged. “Smells like two Gs.”
Keats smacked Jake on the chest with the envelope. His inviting mood dissolved. “What am I gonna do with you, Caldwell?”
“In terms of what?”
“In terms of you not doing what I fucking tell you to do.”
“I got your money, Jason. Count it.”
“I know it’s there.” Keats tossed the envelope on the mahogany desktop. “I told you to break this guy’s kneecaps. You going to float every piece of shit I send you to collect on?”
“Isn’t breaking kneecaps kind of a stereotype?”
“It’s effective.”
“Guy can’t work if he can’t walk.”
Keats sighed. “Are you trying to piss me off?”
“Look, his daughter’s in the hospital and he’s got a pile of bills that would choke a horse.”
“I’m not running a goddamn charity. Carlos didn’t use the money he borrowed for medical bills. He bet on a dog-shit horse and lost. Again. What’s really going on?”
“Nothing,” Jake said, slumping in the chair in front of Keats’ desk.
“Bullshit. How long you worked for me?”
“I don’t know. Five years?”
“Six if you count Oklahoma,” Keats said. “You were a dark soul who didn’t mind dishing it out.”
“I still dish it out.”
“Carlos is the third fuckin’ guy you’ve spotted this month. I got no use for someone who can’t follow simple orders.”
There was no reason for Jake to lie. “It’s getting hard to sleep at night,” he said, focusing on his bad knee, avoiding Keats’ stare.
“You want out?”

There it was, laid out for him.

About the Author:

James L Weaver is the author of the forthcoming Jake Caldwell thrillers Poor Boy Road and Ares Road from Lakewater Press. He makes his home in Olathe, Kansas with his wife of 18 years and two children. His previous publishing credits include a six part story called "The Nuts" and his 5-star rated debut novel Jack & Diane which is available on Author note: a handful of the raters are actually not related to him.

His limited free time is spent writing into the wee hours of the morning, playing parental taxi cab to his kids' sporting endeavors, and binge watching Netflix.
You can read his blog at and follow him on Twitter @WildcatJim2112.

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