Sunday, 22 May 2016

Mercy Row Retribution by Harry Hallman

Title: Mercy Row Retribution
Author: Harry Hallman
Genre: Historical Crime Fiction

While serving as a pilot during the Vietnam War, Gerry Amota, the grandson of Jacob Byrne, the head of a powerful North Philadelphia Irish crime family, seizes an opportunity to create a lucrative marijuana smuggling operation. It's 1967 and under the secrecy of a classified military operation and with the assistance of a French Marseille Mob, who owns plantations in Cambodia, he is able to send tens of thousands of pounds of marijuana a month to Philadelphia. His grandfather's criminal enterprise distributes the drug to a population who has developed and insatiable appetite for the marijuana.

A rival French from Paris gang tries to force Amato to buy their product and this triggers war between the Byrne family and the Paris mob. From the steamy jungles of Vietnam and Cambodia, to the streets of Saigon, Paris and Philadelphia the ruthless actions of the Paris mob threatens to destroy the Byrne family. Gerry Amato orchestrates merciless campaign of retribution against his foes in order to save himself and his family.

In part two of Mercy Row Retribution, the third book in the Byrne family saga, it is April 1975 and South Vietnam is about to fall to the North Vietnamese communist. Gerry Amato fears that the communists will take revenge on the population and especially children, many of whom are Amerasian, at an orphanage he supported and volunteered at during his time as a Pilot. He orchestrates a rescue mission to retrieve the children and bring them to the United States. This takes him and his team into harm's way in Thailand, across Cambodia and into worn torn Vietnam and back. The fate of 75 children and 30 adults rest squarely on Gerry's shoulders.

Bonus Section

Mercy Row Retribution includes a bonus section of short true stories of the author and his friends' experiences growing up in North Philly in the 1940s and 50s. This is a true reflection of what life was like for kids from working class families growing up on the streets Philadelphia.

Print, eBook and Audio. 

Excerpt 1:

Chapter 7

The walls of Saint Hugh of Cluny Catholic Church echoed the final words of the Song of Farewell. "…that you may enter into paradise."

Father George Byrne wiped the tears from his eyes and stepped to the pulpit. He cleared his throat and started to talk, "I will read a favorite prayer of the decea…" Father George's voice cracked. He coughed and continued, "deceased." George closed his eyes, bent his head and then opened his eyes and looked at the gathering and began the prayer."May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face. May the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may the Lord hold you in the palm of His hand."

George bent his head again, and the parishioners followed his lead. After a minute he said, "That concludes the mass, but if you will please keep your seats my father Jacob Byrne would like to say a few words."

Jacob rose from his seat in the first pew. He kissed Molly, then bent down and kissed Jimmy, Sally, Charlie, Janet, Jake, and Maria on the cheek. Mercy stood up and he embraced her tightly. She put her head on his shoulder and sobbed. "PaPa make the hurt go away. Oh, PaPa."

Jacob kissed Mercy's head and said nothing. There was nothing he could say. He couldn't make the hurt go away. Not this time. He sat Mercy back down in the pew and slowly walked to the pulpit forgetting to genuflect before the alter. He turned, wiped his eyes and began, "Many years ago God brought to me the most wonderful person one could hope to have in their life. An amazing person with a soul so energetic and bright that their glow is still with me and will be forever, even though she has gone to God's bosom," Jacob paused and looked at Mercy and the others and began again.

The Author:

Hallman was born in 1944 and raised in the Kensington
section of North Philadelphia. Hallman's father was Harry
Hallman, Sr., a champion pool player who also owned a
poolroom called Circle Billiards, located at Allegheny Avenue and Lee Street in Philadelphia. The younger Hallman spent many hours after school at his father's poolroom and watching his father play in other poolrooms in Philadelphia and New Jersey. The people he met, some belonging to the real K&A Gang, influenced his writing of the Mercy Row series.

After a year of being an apprentice plumber he served four years in the U.S. Air Force, including two tours in South Vietnam as a photographer. His first tour was at Ton Son Nhat Airbase where he processed film shot by U2 Aircraft over North Vietnam and China. He returned to the same place for his second tour, but processed film shot by U.S. fighter recon aircraft. He is married to Duoc Hallman, whom he met in Vietnam, and has two children, Bill and Nancy, and one grandchild, Ava.
Hallman is a serial entrepreneur who has created several marketing services and digital media companies and
continues to work as a marketing consultant.

Email Hallman at 
Keep informed at or on Facebook.

Excerpt 2:

Both Mickey and Gerry simultaneously thrust their stilettos into the soft area at the base of the skulls and into the brains of the guards sitting in front of them. At the same time, Sean lifted his .45 and fired. At that exact time Mickey's arm hit Sean's back making the shot miss. The guard sitting in the right pew ducked behind the pew and pulled his pistol. The two guards Mickey and Gerry had stabbed were dead and falling forward as Sean fell back towards Mickey seeking some cover. The guard on the right fired and hit the wood on the back of the pew.

Gerry, Mickey and Sean fell to the floor just as Beaumont fired four shots from his automatic. The bullets punctured the wood above their heads and sending small splinters onto them. Sean fired three shots at the guard and the guard returned two shoots. Sean held steady while Gerry and Mickey crawled on their bellies towards the left side of the church. After shooting, Beaumont ran to the left side of the church and passed by the tenth row just as Gerry looked up. Gerry squeezed his trigger, but missed Beaumont. Beaumont continued to run towards the front entrance.

Beaumont's guard saw him and fired several shots at Gerry and Mickey to keep them from going after Beaumont. It was a fatal mistake. Sean seeing the guard break cover shot twice, hitting the man in the chest and throat. Sean yelled," Go."

Gerry and Mickey stood up and ran to the end of the pew and then after Beaumont. Sean followed them. Beaumont was close to the back of the church plowing through some people trying to get out. Other people were screaming and running out the entrance. Jacob and Jake pushed their way through the crowd and into the church. Beaumont saw them and ran into the entrance to the north tower.

By the time Jacob could see what was happening, Gerry, Mickey and Sean were at the entranceway to the north tower. Gerry motioned to Jake to take the south tower stairs. According to the drawings Gerry had seen, there were only two ways out from the towers. You took either the north or south tower stairs. When Jake and Jacob took off for the south tower Gerry started up the north tower stairway. Sean and Mickey followed

It was a very narrow spiral staircase made from stone. From what he remembered there were several hundred stairs to get to the top. He was sure at Beaumont's age he would be slow to get to the top and when he did he would need a rest. Gerry was wrong. As Gerry started to turn the last spiral to the top of the landing, two shots hit the stone just a couple of feet in front of him. He jumped back bumping into Mickey and almost knocking him down the steps.

Jacob and Jake were making their way up the south tower stairs, which was the exact same design as the north tower stairs. The only difference was that the south tower stairs were general used for tourists to exit. Most had gotten out before Jake and Jacob started up but a few stragglers were still making their way down. This delayed Jake and Jacob, as the stairs were so narrow you had to go sideways to let two people get by each other. A heavyset woman almost knocked Jacob down the stairs as she passed by. Jake grabbed his father's jacket and steadied him.

When they finally reached the top, they started to cross the walkway leading to the north tower. Beaumont was in the walkway close to the north tower. He fired at Jake and Jacob and missed. Gerry, Mickey and Sean were on the other side walking towards Beaumont. Beaumont spun around and fired at Gerry. His gun clicked and he was out of ammunition.

Jacob yelled, "Give it up, Beaumont."

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