"Road to Perdition: The New, Expanded Novel" (Brash Books), by Max Allan Collins
Readers can be forgiven if they believe there's nothing more to be done with "Road to Perdition," the murderous tale of a mob kingpin, his favored hit man and the lengths each was willing to go to protect his son. After all, we've already seen three treatments of this gritty noir story.
First there was the 1998 graphic novel written by Max Allan Collins with art by Richard Piers Rayner. Next came the 2002 Sam Mendes-directed film starring Tom Hanks and Paul Newman. And then came Collins' novelization of the movie.
But it turns out the publisher of the novelization chopped about 30,000 words from Collins' text to keep it from straying from the film version.
Now Brash Books, a publishing house founded by novelists Lee Goldberg and Joel Goldman, has restored the missing text and released the novel as Collins intended it.
The result is a richer and more satisfying version of the tale, one that combines the swift pace of the graphic novel with the well-developed father-son relationships of Mendes' movie — and that includes both additional hard-boiled dialogue and more historical context for the Depression-era story set in Al Capone's Illinois.
And Collins' writing, always crisp and vividly visual, is at its best here in "Road to Perdition: The New, Expanded Novel."
Bruce DeSilva, winner of the Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Award, is the author of the Mulligan crime novels including "The Dread Line."