“Children learn by example, and Michael O’Sullivan, Jr., is no exception. He loves his father more than anything in the world and decides, one fateful day, to “tag along” with his father when “Papa” goes to “work.” Michael Jr. discovers that his Papa has been holding a great secret from his family – that his “job” is as chief enforcer and contract killer for the notorious Looney crime family.
Instead of chastising his son for witnessing with his activities (or even getting angry with him), Michael Sr. swears his little boy to a vow of silence – something that Michael Jr. is all too happy to do, in an effort to make Papa proud.
Soon, a contract “hit” is put out on Papa's life by a rival crime family. He escapes death, leaving a trail of blood and a thirst for revenge in his wake. The gangsters try, literally, to get Michael Sr. where he lives by invading his home, but only wind up killing his wife and youngest son instead.
Junior (who survived the murder spree by attending a friend’s birthday party at a nearby church) and Senior now find themselves on the run, on a road to Perdition (hell) paved with good intentions.
Michael Sr. won’t let his wife's and son's deaths be in vain. He vows to stop at absolutely nothing in his thirst for revenge, even if it means using every available bullet in Chicago to do so. He decides to take Michael Jr. to live with relatives in Perdition, Kansas, but knows that the drive will be filled with danger. Father and son bond in an unusual way on the trip west – Junior learns how to drive a car and wield a gun “just in case.” Despite daily killings and bloodshed, Papa tries to set a good example for his boy, stopping at every Catholic church he finds along the way, lighting candles for those he’s killed and confessing his myriad of sins to the unsuspecting priests he encounters.
Soon, tragically, Michael Jr. gets caught much deeper in his father’s line of work than he ever bargains for. His religious upbringing makes him realize killing is a great sin – but that Scripture also tells us to “honor our mother and father.” Michael Jr. does his best to accomplish both.
Is revenge the best medicine? Will ever-multiplying sins be truly forgiven? Or will the discovery a father and son both make at the end of the road to Perdition change their lives forever?
A roller coaster of a ride in pen and ink that's very atmospheric and moving.