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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com. Keep informed at www.mercyrow.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mercyrownovel.
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