The Empire: These guys are the seat of power, locally, globally and everywhere in between. They've risen to this place and held onto it for a long time through a mix of shrewdness and ruthlessness, plus a perverse balance of flaunting laws and holding to rules. The empire may become legit when it's got enough money to buy everybody a drink. See The Corleones - you know they made movies right?, The Sopranos - also see Brotherhood, the Caffees cross the Sopranos with The Kennedys. (Speaking of The Sopranos, that's two Falcos in one post - Ed & Edie - hmmm.)
The Clan: United by blood, but not necessarily big on structure. A loose affiliation of outlaws who stick by their own and pass criminality through their genes. The whole world's a mark to them, and be careful, you cross them at your own peril - there's no shortage of places a shallow hole can be dug. Of course, 'We take care of our own' cuts both ways. See The Dollys - you liked Winter's Bone? Check out Give Us a Kiss, The Rands - The Last Kind Words Tom Piccirilli's blistering mystery centered around a family of thieves is gonna rock your summer, The Riches played fast and loose with Irish Traveller lore and was mostly good for the first season (and mostly not for the second).
The Tweeners: They're somewhere between a clan and an empire, developing some ambition, rising above the anarchy of mere outlaw-ish-ness and seriously honing their skills - taking pride in them - becoming true professionals. Next stop - structure and organization. See The Codys - professionals who don't seem likely to make the leap to empire. Likewise The James's and Youngers never quite made that next step, nor did The Bondurants of Franklin County Virginia, but at least they make great fodder for a novel and a movie. Here's hoping John Hillcoat's Lawless adapted by Nick Cave is anywhere near as good as their previous collaboration The Proposition (the Burns brothers of that film would land under the classification 'clan').
The Slayers: Shriek! Gasp! The bloodthirsty, thrill killers that populate books like Kin and films like Devil's Rejects may seem like the most purely fictional of this group (The Manson Family doesn't count - Cult, not family), but while they may not abound, they do have factual basis in examples like The Benders. The Bloody Benders of Kansas are a particularly tangy slice of Americana because nobody knows what ever became of them (or, if in fact they were actually related as they claimed to be, or, for that matter, if the relationships they claimed were the actual ones they had... yeah. Ewww.), but what is known about them is terribly sordid and welcomes colorful, and expansive exposition. Several (no telling how many) travelers checked in and never checked out of their prairie inn. Guillermo Del Toro may be directing a film of their story soon, but you can pick up Rick Geary's graphic factual book or Scott Phillips' excellent Cottonwood for juicy speculation.
The Unofficial Family: We were orphans, or we were abandoned, or we were kicked out, and we banded together for survival, pooled our resources. We're wild cards, The X-Men of crime, forced together just to survive and that's what makes us especially dangerous - regardless the origin of our destitution we are survivors. This strain can grow from a rag-tag group of urchins ala City of God into something as established and organized as Murder, Inc. and before you know it, you've got a whole new Five Families.
You must be a registered user to add a comment here. If you've already registered, please log in. If you haven't registered yet, please register and log in.