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Literature / Son of the Mob

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Son of the Mob is a two-book series by Gordon Korman, detailing the life of Vince Luca, a boy whose dad Anthony Luca is the head of one of the biggest east-coast crime families ever. Vince, on the other hand, is a law-abiding citizen, and tries to stay out of his dad's work however he can (especially since his Love Interest is the daughter of the FBI agent tasked with investigating his family).

Contains examples of:

  • The Ace: Patrick (P-Rick), also being Always Someone Better for Vince's film class in the second book. He does turn out to be a good person, if overly serious about his art, when he convinces Kendra to talk to Vince instead of making assumptions after they have a fight. That doesn't make it any less satisfying when his "comedic biblical epic" flops compared to Vince's edited security footage of a mob rescue.
  • Aroused by Their Voice: Vince finds Kendra's singing voice very attractive.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Vince's mom. She ordered the hit that Agent Bightly is investigating, to protect Anthony and her sons. Don't mess with an Italian mother.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: This is why one of Vince's "uncles" is called Uncle Pampers. You'll wish you had a diaper on once he's done working you over.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Jimmy and Ed, who are in debt to mob loan sharks and get worked over and threatened a lot.
    • Benny the Zit, who is forced to crash his car to provide a diversion for the police in the first book and was stabbed in the shoulder with a corkscrew in the second book and subjected to some Meatgrinder Surgery.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: A prostitute Tommy hires for Vince (who turns her down) later runs into Vince at the nightclub that Jimmy and Ed are investing in and reveals it's a front, and thus is scamming the two.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Tommy does manage one thing for the mob: he turns Vince's message board project into a secret betting ring with codes. Vince is shocked Tommy actually thought it through enough for it to work.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: The one who ordered the Calabrese hit was actually Vince's mom.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: P-Rick, aka Patrick. An odd, self-inflicted one.
  • Friend to All Children: Uncle Pampers tends to hang out with the little kids whenever the mobsters and their families get together. Vince speculates that part of the appeal is that little kids are the only ones who don't feel uncomfortable around him due to not knowing what he does for a living.
  • Funny Foreigner: While they do get some moments of being fleshed out and sympathetic, the foreign exchange students Vince works with in the second book provide some comic relief with their generally poor English skills and fascination with Tommy.
  • Hipster: Vince seems to consider P-Rick one. He mellows out a little on it by the end of the second book.
  • Honorary Uncle: Vince has them out the wazoo. Many of them come to stay in his dorm room during book 2.
  • Inspector Javert: Agent Bightly, who comes to care more about breaking up Vince and Kendra then busting Mr. Luca.
  • Irony: Vince's roommate in the second book wishes his dad wasn't such a well-known, pushy politician because of all the pressure it puts on him, and acts as a rebel slacker in response. His dad is then found out to be involved with the mob (not the Luca mob, but another one), and suddenly the guy is ironing a suit and ready to act perfectly straight-laced to defend his dad.
  • Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk: Vince’s brother Tommy is an unrepentant, sometimes violent mafioso. He does love his brother and tries to help him in his own misguided way, but in both books he unrepentantly tricks Vince into helping him with some form of criminal activity made to look like something nicer, namely using a chat room Vince set up to bet on horse races (which could have gotten Vince arrested along with him) and stealing money from the foreign exchange students Vince was helping after he’d pretended to befriend them.
  • Mafia Princess: Vince is the male version and the reluctant version. He also gets more slack than his older brother, Tommy, since he doesn't want anything to do with the business and the family tries to keep it that way (unless necessary). Vince is constantly torn between doing the right thing and loyalty to his family, which drives several aspects of the plots of both books.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Tommy may seem like a dumb thug who will sometimes sacrifice time he could spend on criminal pursuits to do stuff with his brother, but he tends to manipulate Vince for some cynical moneymaking scheme whenever that happens. Also, Vince doubts that, boss's son or not, Tommy could have been given such a high-ranking job in the mob without proving his dedication by murdering someone.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Most of Vince's honorary uncles are only ever called by their nicknames (Puke, Pampers, Uncle, Big Nose, etc.)
  • Parental Favoritism: While Anthony and Mrs. Luca love both their boys very much, Anthony clearly wants Vince to be the one to take over the family business, since Tommy only thinks in the short-term and is generally unmotivated. However, so far Tommy is the only one to show interest in the "vending machine business" (even though by the end of book one, Vince has shown a better aptitude for manipulating it).
  • Precision F-Strike: Korman uses the "one grown-up swear maximum per young-adult book" to great effect during The Reveal of the Calabrese hit tape:
    Mrs. Luca: He won't touch this family! Pampers, I want that son of a bitch totally out of
  • Quest to the West: Book 2 starts with Vince, Kendra, and Alex making a cross-country trip to California, where they're going to college.
  • The Reveal Prompts Romance: Vince is dating Kendra when he is forced to reveal to her that his father is a mafia head to prevent her dad from meeting his. After getting over the shock and preventing their dads from meeting, Kendra meets up with Vince again and tackles him in a passionate kiss.
  • Riding into the Sunset: Vince's movie script from the beginning of book two describes him, Kendra, and Alex riding into the sunrise as they make the cross-country trip to their college, but Kendra points out that that would be impossible since they're going west.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: An example of the Romeo and Juliet comparison being done right: Vince is dating Kendra Bightly, whose father is the head of the investigative team who deals with the Luca family. Both Vince and Kendra were terrified when their parents (more accurately, their fathers) met at their graduation, but there was just a tense handshake and a terse greeting. Both have acknowledged that this is the best that they can hope for.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: In the first book, Vince gets a monologue describing this. His father could be the guy guarding the ballots at the Academy Awards. Uncle Carmine sometimes shows up for mob business in his volunteer fireman's car. Uncle Exit is an aging ex-hippie who still wears the outfit. Ray bears a resemblance to a priest Vince knows. Uncle Puke looks like the man in the American Gothic painting "without the pitchfork", and his goon Primo is an avid fisherman who wears around a hat of lures.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Vince refuses to make the choice, avoiding any situations that would prompt it. The first book's moral is that there's no way for him to do this unless he cuts all ties to his family, because only when he's away from them will he have no opportunity to protect them from the consequences of their own actions. Vince actually approves of some, like his mother ordering a hit to protect her family, but he can't do something like that, and the guilt from not doing it if he had the chance would tear him apart.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Vending Machine Business" for the mob Vince's father leads. Ironically, Vince notes his dad has tried fixing and building things before, mostly chairs, and is terrible at it.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Vince is stunned to run into his father's hitman Uncle Pampers while going on a date with Kendra to a karaoke bar. Pampers then gets up on the stage and performs a Hank Williams number so skillfully that he earns roaring applause from everyone in the room, whether they normally like that kind of music or not.
  • Villain Over for Dinner: Inverted, the Luca family has Kendra over once. It's agreed they probably shouldn't do it again after a guy walks in on the dinner bleeding.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Tommy shows shades of becoming this, because he seems to know that Vince is acknowledged by everyone as being smarter than him. However, Anthony always tries to show that he loves both his sons.
  • Youngest Child Wins: Vince is shown to be more motivated, smarter, and more-liked by the family than his older brother Tommy. Also, despite Tommy actually wanting to be in the Family Business, Vince has shown more aptitude for doing what a mob boss would do (even if he did it to save Jimmy Rat, a sort-of friend).
  • Your Costume Needs Work: In Vince's video of the Luca mob rescuing a union leader for reasons unknown, his teacher declares everything perfect except for Anthony, who was clearly "a caricature" of a mob boss. Vince tries not to laugh.