Series: A Jake & Laura Mystery #1
Genre: Historical / Mystery / Thriller
In Michael Murphy’s action-packed Prohibition-era novel of suspense, a mystery writer returns to the bright lights and dark alleys of New York City—uncovering a criminal conspiracy of terrifying proportions.
In 1933, America is at a crossroads: Prohibition will soon be history, organized crime is rampant, and President Roosevelt promises to combat the Great Depression with a New Deal. In these uncertain times, former-Pinkerton-detective-turned-bestselling-author Jake Donovan is beckoned home to Manhattan. He has made good money as the creator of dashing gumshoe Blackie Doyle, but the price of success was Laura Wilson, the woman he left behind. Now a Broadway star, Laura is engaged to a millionaire banker—and waltzing into a dangerous trap.
Before Jake can win Laura back, he’s nearly killed—and his former partner is shot dead—after a visit to the Yankee Club, a speakeasy dive in their old Queens neighborhood. Suddenly Jake and Laura are plunged into a conspiracy that runs afoul of gangsters, sweeping from New York’s private clubs to the halls of corporate power and to the White House itself. Brushing shoulders with the likes of Dashiell Hammett, Cole Porter, and Babe Ruth, Jake struggles to expose an inconspicuous organization hidden in plain sight, one determined to undermine the president and change the country forever.
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It has a lot going for it. I was drawn into the main character and the story. It's a noir, a thriller and there's a historical account of the times. I generally rate Historical a little harsher, especially the 20's-50's because I love them so much. I want to learn something new and this provided me with a lot of fun scenes and characters - all of which were perfect in their setting.
Set in the Dirty 30's when the Prohibition had been dubbed a "noble failure", those who became rich off the bootlegging are beginning to itch. This is where the story sets up it's tent poles.
The main character, Jake, is a former detective (and Pinkerton!) who has set his sights beyond WWI and his past career to writing fast-paced mysteries starring a charismatic man named Blackie Doyle. He comes back to New York and is immediately entangled in the death of a close friend and a conspiracy that could change the United States as we know it.
So, when a "hit" is personal, Jake has to go digging not only into the mystery, but into his own personal life.
There's a few slow places though overall this story is great! Not only is there a decent amount of research, there's action, a respectable heroin and a family-esque background to his "friends" of New York. I found the friends kept me entertained when Jake becomes a little too predictable. He has a heck of a network and utilizes it when it's available. I give him points for imagination.