Book Reviews

The Empire: Mama’s Gone by Leopold Borstinski @borstinski @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours

It’s almost the weekend! Have you planned your readings? If you feel like being a gangster for a while, take a look at Mama’s Gone!

My thanks to Emma #damppebblesblogtours for inviting me to be part of this tour

41-Ro+mIrTLTitle: Mama’s Gone (The Lagotti Family series #4)
Author: Leopold Borstinski
Publisher: Sobriety Press
Date of hardback publication: 2019
Format: ecopy

When children grow up, the parents must die

California gang leader Mary Lou has built a criminal empire while her adult children are desperate for their mother’s attention and love. 

As her mental faculties wane, Alice and Frank Jr must acknowledge their mother is not the woman she once was and that they need to step up and take the helm, despite the stark differences between them. 

But their sibling rivalry blinds both of them to their weaknesses which threatens the family when the Russian mob moves into the state. How can they fend off those attacks while fighting to decide who will lead the family now their dear Mama’s gone?


The Lagotti Family. If all families are complicated, this one is particularly tricky! Being the head of a gang dealing with drugs, prostitution, money laundering, you name it, makes things twice as difficult. So when the strength of the Lagotti, the Mama, shows signs indicating her role in the family might be compromised, the dynamics change. Twins Frank and Alice are keen to keep the business running, and neither of them is willing to let the other take the lead…

I am not familiar with gangters or mob novels. I do enjoy the villains in my books but I don’t often venture into dark alleys. Still, I was tempted to give Mama’s Gone a chance, lured in by the family drama that would inevitably unfold among the blood and dark deeds. I wanted family drama, and I got plenty of it!

The close-knit tribe had me intrigued from the deafening opening, a scene which prompted all characters to show their colours, before the novel took me back to the past to meet each character under a different light. I found this idea clever and my curiosity didn’t leave as I tried to see through the holes in the family. The twins, Frank and Alice, are nothing alike and I wondered how two people brought up in the same family could end up so different. I felt Mama’s shadow throughout the book and her presence revealed a strong, resilient woman who had managed to build a small empire. Bobby, Mama’s partner, was my favourite, doing his best to protect the woman, her children, her life choices.

Mama’s Gone felt like an old black and white movie with big guns and tension in a room where everyone is looking at the other, waiting for the first move. Loyalty plays a big part and the war between families added an edge to the internal turmoil of the Lagottis, who, despite their illegal activities, are first and foremost a clan. Bounds are tested, so is love. Choices are made. There is a lot going on in this book and I really enjoyed the balance between work and personal lives. They are obviously closely intertwined due to the family’s work but the author went the extra mile to make sure the reader stays engrossed in all sides of the plot, enjoying both the family drama and the bad stuff going on! I am aware sex is part of those books, but the prude in me would have preferred less crude sex scenes. Well, what appears crude to me will be totally soft for others! I know, I’m crazy to prefer blood, haha!

Mama’s Gone is the fourth installment in the Lagotti series but can totally be read as a standalone. It’s a dark family saga soaked in blood!

Here’s the Amazon link!





Discover the author with this Q&A on his website!

8 thoughts on “The Empire: Mama’s Gone by Leopold Borstinski @borstinski @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours”

  1. Great review, Meggy! I enjoy dark books but gangsta sounds a little too action packed for me. I am glad that you enjoyed this one though. That family sure does sounds complex.


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