Little GANGSTER by Victor Cino
It is 1952, and in the opening pages of "Little Gangster," Joey D'Angelo, our young Sicilian protagonist, and his friend, Johnny Marino, are called late at night to First Street park where their gangster employer, Pepi Savino, is in the middle of an argument with another gangster, Nick Bonanti. Immediately after the two twelve year old boys arrive in the park, the confrontation becomes violent and Joey is told by Pepi to carry out a task which risks arrest for Joey and becomes one of the great challenges facing him in the novel. The boys have been running errands for Pepi and earning money for bets on stickball games. Joey has no moral concern about this work until he is called into the office of Peter Capra, Director of The Boys' Club of New York, and is offered an opportunity for a scholarship to a New England prep school; but there is a catch: Joey must break all ties with Pepi Savino.