S. Gagliano & Son has been a barber shop fixture in South Philly for decades. Frankie and Michael Gagliano’s Italian immigrant father–Luigi to his customers, Papa to his sons–presides over the store, enlisting his children as soon as they’re big enough to wield a broom. On their mother’s deathbed, eight-year-old Frankie swears that he and his little brother will always take care of each other, a vow he endeavors to keep through their father’s violent outbursts and the string of wives who try to take their mother’s place.
After their father’s death, Frankie takes over the shop, transforming it to fit in with the gentrifying neighborhood. Michael becomes a successful prosecutor with a rising political career, still close to his big brother despite the differences between them. Then comes an unthinkable, impulsive act that will force Michael to choose between risking his comfortable life and keeping a sacred oath–made before he knew how powerful a promise can be.
The Boys from Eighth and Carpenter is a stunning evocation of working-class Italian-American life–a story of brotherhood, loyalty, and the contradictory, unpredictable nature of family love.
“The Boys from Eighth and Carpenter is a heartfelt story of two loving brothers as well as a compelling crime drama all set in the changing city of Philadelphia. Tom Mendicino is a supremely gifted writer with an eye for the most telling of details, and I loved this novel!”–Lisa Scottoline, New York Times bestselling author“At the heart of this capacious and suspenseful novel is the bond between two very different brothers, but its larger context is the Italian-American family: its values, loyalties and responsibilities. Tom Mendicino writes with honesty and compassion, and the reader can’t help but root for his endearing characters.”–Christopher Castellani, author of All This Talk of Love