Before WWII, major crime was generally associated with Italian and Irish gangsters warring against each other. One of the unintended consequences of WWII was the increase in guns, street gangs, and inner city crime. I reflected this change in the character of Crazy Tom McAllister, who in The Life and Times of Liam O’Donnell satisfied his criminal desires by pilfering five and dime stores.
The sequel to the Liam book, Rory O’Donnell and the Kennedys, was written to illustrate the vast societal changes that took place following the war.
The war-hardened veteran, Crazy Tom, began his rise in the world of crime by beating up a squid who had raped his sister. This attack gave him status among the youths of his neighborhood. Following which, a short stint in Holmesburg Prison enabled him to become accepted by the K&A Gang.
Named after the Philadelphia intersection Kensington and Allegheny, the K&A Gang added class to ordinary robbery. They blended in with the residents of Philadelphia’s upscale neighborhoods by dressing in Botany500 suits and driving classy cars. And you thought Philadelphia was only famous for its lawyers. Not satisfied with the local take, the K&A Gang extended their territory from New England to the Carolinas. Their crime spree went undetected. After all, who would suspect well-dressed, clean-shaven, big tippers staying in classy hotels? My character, Crazy Tom, went right along with them before buying his own bar and graduating to more heinous crime.
I’d tell you more, but then you’d have no need to buy Rory O’Donnell and the Kennedys.