"A History of Violence": ===Chapter 1: A Small Town Killing===
Appearing in "A History of Violence"
- Tom McKenna/Joey Muni (Flashback and main story)
- Edie McKenna
- Buzz McKenna
- Ellie McKenna
- Frank Carney
- Richie Benedetto (Flashback and main story) (Dies)
- Willie (Flashback only)
- Cass Greer
- Maurice Sutch
- Detective Vincent Paglia
- Little Lou Manzi (Dies)
- Johnny Torrino (Dies)
- Anthony Palestria (Dies)
- Aldo Rossi (Dies)
- Lou Manzi (Dies in flashback)
- Hal Moscone
- Henry Brewster
- Mitchell Wallace
- Laura Appleby
- Steve Benedetto (Dies in flashback)
- Charles Kaufman
- Eunice Bradley
- .45 Magnum
Synopsis for "A History of Violence"
Chapter 1: A Small Town Killing
The story begins with two hitchhikers coldly gunned down by two robbers. The robbers soon travel to the small Michigan town of Raven's Bend, where they attempt to pull a stick up on cafe owner Tom McKenna. However, Tom scald one of the robbers with a jug of hot coffee before smashing it in the face of the other robber. He then quickly subdue one of the men, grabbing his handgun and fatally shooting the other robber. The surviving robber is arrested and Tom is celebrated as a hero. But Tom tries to avoid being in the limelight and strongly refuses to be interview by television and newspapers.
The news attracted three men from New York to visit Tom's cafe. Their leader, Johnny Torrino, accost Tom and remarking that he resembles an "old friend" who had cost him his missing eye. Torrino notices that Tom is missing a finger on his left hand and pulls out a pendant containing a severed finger, claiming that Tom is Joey Muni, who is responsible for crossing Torrino twenty years ago. Tom's wife Edie intervenes and orders the men to leave immediately before she calls the police. The men comply and Torrino's men claims that their boss is confusing Tom for Joey.
Edie calls Sheriff Frank Carney, who confronts the men and ran their names. The men are reveal to be mobsters with dangerous criminal records. All of them have "a long history of violence." But the mobsters haven't actually committed any crimes, and they are left alone. This lead to Carney questioning Tom as to whether they have anything against him. Tom denies of any wrongdoing and insists that he is not this Joey person the mobsters are looking for.
Torrino still believes that Tom is Joey and attempt to draw him out by threatening Tom's family. The mobsters eventually takes Tom's son Buzz (whom Torrino immediately sees him as a spitting image of Joey) hostage and stand in front of the McKenna's house. Tom finally admits to his wife that he is Joey Muni and urging her to take their daughter and leave town. He then steps out of the house, armed with his rifle, and enters into a standoff with the mobsters. Rather than surrendering to the mobsters, Tom shoots the propane tank behind the mobsters, causing an explosion that stuns them. This allows Buzz to flee to safety while Tom kills Torrino's henchmen, but Torrino shoots Tom. Torrino stands over Tom, preparing to kill him. But he is shot by Edie with a revolver.
Despite ridding the mobsters, Tom tells Edie that it is not over. There are still people whom he had antagonized and they are coming for him.
Chapter 2: The Brooklyn Murders
Tom is taken to county hospital where he reveals his true identity and story to Edie and Buzz.
Twenty years ago, it all began with the murder of Steve Benedetto, the older brother of Joey's childhood friend Richie, by Torrino, who was the hatchetman of crime boss Lou Manzi, for failing to pay up to Manzi. Incensed over his brother's death, Richie convinced Joey to pull off a well-planned heist on Manzi's money, killing Manzi in the process. Joey used his half of the money to pay for his grandmother's (his only living relative) heart operation.
Richie, however, foolishly flaunt his money in which he was easily caught by Torrino. Richie is tortured and presumably killed before he named Joey as his accomplice. Joey is forced to leave his grandmother and narrowly escaping from Torrino. He is cornered into an alley by Torrino, who sliced off Joey's finger with his hatchet. But Joey in turn use a strand of barbwire to tear into Torrino's right eye. Joey drift across the country while completely erasing his identity and eventually he changed his name to Tom McKenna.
Edie is stunned by Tom's revelation, but she still love the man she is married. Tom's family then tries to think of a way to protect Tom while hoping that the mortally wounded Torrino, who is hospitalized, might prevent the mob from finding Tom. But they are inform by Sheriff Carney that detectives from Detroit are here to question Tom.
Chapter 3: With Evil Intent
Tom is released from the hospital and staying at the home of his mother-in-law. One night, Tom is surprised to receive a phone call from a very much alive Richie, who is being kept alive by the mob. Richie is being forced to speak for them to Tom, telling him that he must pay.
The next morning, Tom confesses his story to the police. Fortunately for Tom, his lawyer Cass Greer learns that the Detroit detectives failed to inform Tom his rights of course. His confession is therefore inadmissible in court.
Tom soon receive a phone call from the mob, whom he tells Tom that his family's protection won't last forever and he is offering Richie's life for Tom's. Tom caves in and is willing to listen to them. At the same time, Torrino is murdered in his hospital bed.
Tom learns from Greer that he must return to New York and plead his case to the judge, in order to avoid a lengthy prison sentence - especially that his life is in danger if sent to prison - and as well clearing the twenty-year-old case. Edie decide to accompany Tom.
After arriving in New York, the McKenna's are given a police escort to their hotel. Along the way, they drive through Brooklyn where Tom and Detective Vincent Paglia reminiscence Tom's old neighborhood. Tom also learns that his grandmother had passed away from a heart attack a couple years after he had disappeared.
Much later, Tom gives his confession to the police and as well telling them of Richie's survival and the phone call. He then learns that the mob are being led by Manzi's son, Little Lou, a complete psychopath who threatened Tom on the phone and is responsible for ordering Torrino's death for disobeying in taking Tom alive. The police could do little to protect Tom from a high profile mobster and advise him to hide his family from Little Lou. But Tom decide to take his own battle against the younger Manzi.
Tom avoids the police and arrange a meeting with Manzi at a warehouse. There, Tom, with a bottle of pepper spray hidden inside a fake arm cast, dispatch one of Manzi's men, taking his gun, and causing one to lose his hand. Tom kills two more mobsters before moving into a torture room where he is shocked to finally find Richie hanging in a harness, having been horribly mutilated and tortured by Manzi for the last twenty years. This reunion cost Tom to be held at gunpoint by Lou, who then proceed to viciously beat up Tom with a baseball bat while yelling at him and Richie for making a fool out of the Manzi family for twenty years.
After finish venting his rage, Manzi then handcuff Tom and hanging him right next to Richie and prepares to torture him with a power drill. When Manzi start gloating of torturing Tom's family next, this cause Tom to wrap his legs tightly around Manzi's head, which causes Manzi to lose his balance and fall backward, bringing Tom down with him. Tom quickly grabs a gun but only to find out that it is empty. Manzi attacks Tom with a chainsaw, but Tom deflects the blade by holding tightly to his shackles before Manzi slips and falls onto the blade, which fatally cuts into his neck.
With Manzi dead, Tom lowers Richie onto the floor and saying that he will get him to a hospital. But Richie begs Tom to kill him because he couldn't live in this agonized and pathetic state. Tom solemnly obliges by suffocating Richie in an act of euthanasia shortly before the police arrive, who had found the maimed mobster from earlier and followed his blood trail to the warehouse. Tom is brought outside on a stretcher where he is reunited with Edie, who he assures her that Manzi is dead and everything is over.
- This book was first published on December 20, 1996.
- After Paradox Press went defunct, later editions of this book were published by Vertigo.
- No trivia.