Cover image for The honored society
The honored society
Gambino, Michael.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Pocket Books, [2001]

Physical Description:
xvi, 268 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


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FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf
FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf

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With this blistering and revelatory crime epic, Michael Gambino, grandson of the original "Godfather, " aims for the gut and catapults readers straight into the heart of the Mafia--a world he knows better than anybody.

Author Notes

Michael Gambino is the scion of one of the Honored Society's most respected and feared families. The grandson of Carlo Gambino--on who Mario Puzo based "The Godfather"--he became a made man at the age of eighteen, and soon became a powerful crime boss in his own right. Now thirty-six, having spent a third of his life in prison, no longer wanted by the federal authorities nor sought by his former associates (he never ratted on any of them), Gambino has decided to start his life anew.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Though promoted as fiction by the its publisher, Pocket, Michael Gambino's The Honored Society reads like a memoir, an impression enhanced by the preface from the author's mother, Carmella Gambino, and by the author's own introduction ("My dad, Vito Gambino, was a career gangster whose father before him was also a gangster") and author's note. In fact, anyone who knows a bit about the Mafia will recognize the Gambino name (John Gotti was/is head of the Gambino Family). This book then seems to be, under the cloak of fiction, the story of the author's rise and fall within the Mob. While it offers a deep insider's view of the Mafia, it provides little that fans of The Godfather, The Sopranos and numerous Mafia memoirs haven't seen or read before. Gambino's tale is extremely violent, and will prove rough reading for many, but the directness and honesty of its recounting are notable. (Nov. 13) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



Chapter One: How I Earned My Nickname Chicago, 1984 My guts told me something was wrong. Outside of Dreamway, one of the many strip clubs I managed for my dad, I paced up and down the sidewalk, in and out the club. Where the hell was my cousin Marcello? He had called earlier and said one of the guys was celebrating his birthday. I told him I'd fix him and his friends up with some girls. That was two hours ago, and they should have arrived within a half hour of the call. My guts were churning. They felt trouble. Just as I started to go back inside, Marcello's white van nearly capsized, turning from Roosevelt Road. It came speeding and swerving down Cicero Avenue, and before it screeched to a stop I knew something really awful was going on. When the side door slid open, all I saw was blood. It was everywhere. The guys, the ones who could, were yelling for help. I ran into the club and got some of my men to help pull them out. I yelled to my cousin Paulie to bring his car around from the back. When my cousin Marcello was laid on the sidewalk, it broke my heart to look at him. He was beaten the worst I'd ever seen. His face was smashed. His head, face, clothes -- right down to the shoes -- were covered in blood. What shocked me most was his left eye. It was hanging out of its socket. Meanwhile, Tommy kept shouting, over and over, "It was a trap! They tricked us! I'm sorry, Michael. I'm sorry!" After I helped everyone into Paulie's car and off to the hospital, I got Tommy, who wasn't nearly as badly beaten as the others, calm enough to tell me more about what came down. It was typical of the things that happen in this part of Cicero with guys who don't know better. Tommy told me the whole story as we got into the van. It all started less than ten blocks away from the club. Marcello had turned off the highway to Cicero. Tommy hung out of the passenger window, whistling at the strolling whores. He was excited about going to Dreamway, but he was hot and thinking only with his dick. He wanted some action right away. Marcello didn't want to stop, but Tommy jumped out of the van and started hustling two hookers. Joey and Charlie wanted some action, too, so Marcello gave in and got the whores to agree on a cheap price for some blow jobs. A black hooker in leather hot pants and a stoned Asian streetwalker told them to pull into an empty lot behind a warehouse across the street. Marcello got in the back, and Tommy stayed in the front. All four were unbuckling their belts and arguing who would get serviced first when the hookers knocked on the panel door. None of the guys saw the two black pimps make their way along the warehouse wall and hide behind the van. When Charlie yanked the sliding door open, the girls stepped aside and their pimps burst into the van, swinging as they came. Charlie, with his jeans around his ankles, was shoved out the door and kicked in the head so hard he didn't feel a thing when his face was shoved into the broken glass and metal shards on the ground. Marcello lunged but got his teeth knocked out by a brass-knuckle punch. Still he kept coming at the guy, but got knifed through the ribs and cracked across the face for his trouble. Joey broke one pimp's nose before being put out of commission. Tommy had been stuck in the front seat because the hookers leaned against the passenger door. He tried to stop the pimp who tore out the stereo and tape deck, but he couldn't do much. He got smacked in the mouth. When he could, Tommy got to the driver's seat and started the engine. The pimps had ripped off the guys' watches and wallets, too. They also took the boxed TV, a birthday present, that was in the back. Charlie crawled into the van, and Tommy floored the accelerator; the van raised dirt and burned rubber as it careened out of the lot and bounced painfully through potholes along Cermak Road. I was furious with those pimps who fucked with my family. I could hardly see straight. These kids were just looking for some fun. They just wanted to get laid. There's no way they deserved what happened to them. Marcello was nearly killed. I knew something had to be done, and done fast, to teach those pimps a lesson. I told Tommy to get in the van. He looked at me, like he was scared to go back, but then he must have seen the look in my eyes, and got in. I told him to drive. As we passed a gas station, I had Tommy stop. There was a bucket of water with a squeegy in it. I tossed the water and filled the bucket with gasoline. We found the lot, then drove up and down the streets looking for the two whores who made the setup. It took us about an hour, but Lady Leather and her Asian cohort finally showed. We drove slowly up the street like we were cruising for a good time, then stopped at the corner where they were standing, waiting for a couple of guys just like us. I told the pair we wanted to have a good time and showed them a hundred-dollar bill. We made the deal and agreed to pull into that same empty lot just down the street, but I insisted they walk alongside us as we drove. They were too stoned to recognize the van, or Tommy. Once we were in place in the lot, I pulled open the van's side door and surprised the hookers. I robbed them of their money, only about forty dollars, and a man's watch that turned out to belong to Charlie. "Now you fuckin' nigger, take your goddamned slant-eyed bitch back to the gutter where you both came from. Go. Get the fuck outta here." I added insults to injury just to piss off their pimps even more. And then I shut the door, and waited. Tommy wanted to get the hell out of there and started to panic when I grabbed the keys out of the ignition. He saw I had a gun and was scared about what I was going to do. He yelled and cursed and nearly ruined everything until I threatened to shoot him. He shut up real quick, then his eyes opened wide as we saw the two pimps. He could never have guessed what I would do next. When the two black men got close enough to the van, I opened the side door. They stood there. One had a knife in his hand and the other held a crowbar. "I'm gonna cut yo' dick off, honkey, and shove it up yo' ass!" said one. I only laughed as they both moved a little closer. The one with the crowbar said, "I'll whoop yo' ass first. Like I did those other white boys tonight." I laughed even louder, and as they moved still closer, I threw the bucket of gasoline across them both. From then, everything happened real fast. They didn't even recognize that it was gasoline all over their fancy-pimp duds. They kept yelling: "You's gonna pay for this, muthafucka! You's gonna pay." Before they could figure out what I'd thrown and try to run, I made sure they saw I had Tommy holding my gun on them, and I lit one of the matches I had in my hands. The pimps were still confused. "So what do you two smell?" I asked, playing with the matches. Realization showed in their widening eyes. They couldn't run for fear they'd get shot, so they begged and pleaded, "Oh man, please. Don't do this! Please don't!" I just stared at them and lit the next match, and the next, while I listened to their high-pitched pleas. Finally, I asked, "Do you know who the hell I am?" They shook their heads, "Uh-uh." As I lit up two entire matchbooks, I told them, "I'm the man who did this to you," then flung the fiery matches, hitting them both squarely in their chests. They burst into fire and danced like flaming scarecrows, screaming, until they fell and tried to roll out the flames. I grabbed the gun from Tommy's shaking hands, slammed the van door before the smell of burning flesh could make us sick, and shoved Tommy out of my way. He smelled bad, too; he had shit his pants. I gave him a look of disgust and got into the driver's seat, started the engine, and tore out of there. Back at Dreamway, one of my dad's soldiers, Marco, was waiting to take me to the Roman Cafe, a hole-in-the-wall social club in Berwyn where my dad was with some of his guys. Everyone had heard what happened to Marcello and his friends and wanted to know how I had evened the score, and if I was all right. I told my dad and the others what happened. Dad listened, then picked up the phone and called a police captain, asked him for a favor, and gave him the location of the two fried pimps. The problem was cleaned up. In the next day's newspaper there was a report of drug-related deaths. There were no witnesses. Case closed. Protection is a great arrangement. Before I left my dad's company, he did one more thing. In my world everyone has a nickname. Like my friend Joey "Diamonds." One of his first jobs was a $5-million diamond heist in London. Joe "Batter" Figorelli used a baseball bat to teach his victims a lesson. I didn't know what was on my dad's mind when he stared at me for a few seconds, then kind of nodded as he made what turned out to be a proclamation. "The Match," he said. "Mike the Match." That's been my nickname ever since. Copyright 2001 by Michael Gambino