This is the worst book I have read in as long as I can remember, and I usually read 2 or 3 books a week. This is the first time I have ever been motivated to write a negative review of a book, but maybe I can save someone from spending $20 and 8 hours of their life struggling through this miserable story.
There is not a single character in the story that the average reader can relate to. In most novels the reader can figuratively stand in the shoes of a character and ride the emotional roller-coaster with them, hoping things turn out for the best. I know it is the criminal underworld, but the characters in this book are such thoroughly despicable human beings that I never felt like I could empathize with them, and not one of them inspires the hope that things might work out well for them.
The story itself is bland and predictable. There are no twists, no turns, no development in the plot that the reader won't see coming a mile away. In fact, there's not really a plot, exactly; it's more like you get a "day-in-the-life" kind of snapshot of the life of this crime family, only it spans 40 years or so, and gives the sense that the next 40 will continue in the same predictable manner.
The writing style is droll and actually interferes with the telling of the story. The writer is excruciatingly long-winded - the book could've been improved by editing it from 500 to 250 pages. The author will clearly descrbe something in a few sentences, then spend another page describing it some more, often repeating what was said before but in slightly different words, then she'll close the topic by saying, "in short," and instead of following with a brief recap, will go on for another couple of paragraphs saying the same things again. I found myself doing a lot of scanning to get past it.
In short, it was awful.