City Within A City

A Gangster's Story

Non-Fiction - Biography
264 Pages
Reviewed on 03/20/2009
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Free Book Program, which is open to all readers and is completely free. The author will provide you with a free copy of their book in exchange for an honest review. You and the author will discuss what sites you will post your review to and what kind of copy of the book you would like to receive (eBook, PDF, Word, paperback, etc.). To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite

City Within A City is an unusual love story. It is the story of Joe Thomas whose main love is the excitement of crime. Throughout his life he stole , dealt in drugs, and committed numerous other crimes. Sherry Clark Thomas, a woman that loved him, wrote this book. Joe was born in 1913 and died in 1992.

City Within A City opens with the funeral of Joe Thomas, a gangster. Joe is the narrator of his story. Crime seemed a natural way of life for Joe. At ten years of age, he saw his father shoot a man and he pick the fragments of brain off of his clothing. During a year in reform school, he was brutally raped. You would think that after such brutality a man would be gentler to others. Not Joe! He beat his wives unmercifully. Joe describes himself as a pimp and gigolo. It did not matter to Joe as long as he made money. When Joe was born his father swore that he was “the chosen one.” He declared that God had sent special angels the watch after him and that nothing would ever hurt him. Perhaps his father was right. However, I am not sure it was God’s angels. A total of 13 ½ years in prison taught Joe a lot about violence. Joe was married nine times. He married Sherry Clark twice.

City Within A City left me feeling disconcerted. I have often heard it asked why women “go” for bad men. Having read this book, I ask myself the same thing. Sherry Clark Thomas is a talented writer. So why did she “go” for Joe Thomas? I believe the excitement was an addiction. Regardless of her reasons, I admire Sherry’s talent. City Within A City is a brutally honest account of one man’s life and how his actions affected others. “The sins of the father’s,” ran through my mind as I read this book. Joe was raised with violence; he was a product of his environment. That does not excuse his behavior. This is not a book for the faint of heart. City Within A City will stay with you long after you lay the book down. Fraught with drama, City Within A City is a book that will take you into the bowels of crime and violence.

Pearl D. taylor

I couldn't put this book down. It kept my attention without a problem. I can relate to the bad guy in this book. For anyone, this is a "MUST READ BOOK."

Thomas Hannon

"Don't judge a book by its cover" or so they say, but the striking blond with the handcuffs in her left hand and gun in her right, caught my attention. After reading the synopsis on the back cover I was hooked. A true-life drama about a gangster and written by the woman who married him twice, sounded too interesting to bypass.
The author, Sherry Clark Thomas had been there, done that. She didn't hold back on the good, the bad and the ugly. She told it like it was and as evil as Joe was, there were times he showed compassion and love. The character of Joe Pastronoco was one to remember, but unfortunately there will be no sequel, because Joe is dead. After reading City Within A City a month ago, I still think of Joe and what a piece of work he was. This story had to be real. Nobody could make this stuff up.
This story was an excellent read and I enjoyed it from the opening chapter. I highly recommend it.


I really enjoyed City Within a City-A Gangster's Story. Joe, the main character was one of the best bad guys I've seen in a long time. I followed him in his every move as if I was there. It's amazing how someone so heartless and cruel could be so likeable. You almost feel guilty for admiring his style.