Top Hoodlum
June 27th, 2018 by diane92345

Immerse yourself in the world of New York mafia kingpin, Frank Costello, labeled a Top Hoodlum by FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover.

Prohibition was a marvelous time for organized crime in 1920s New York City. Bringing in liquor from Canada, Frank and all his cronies became millionaires supplying the addictions of both rich and poor. After it ends, Frank puts his money into legitimate businesses and works to negotiate truces between mob families as far away as Chicago.

The names within Top Hoodlum are familiar to anyone who has ever watched a Hollywood mafia production such as the Godfather or Boardwalk Empire. Al Capone, Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky are all here. The famous restaurant assassination scene in the Godfather was real and meticulous detailed here. Readers who like mafia movies will be engrossed by the well-researched Top Hoodlum. 3 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Citadel, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

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Posted in Non-fiction Tagged with: , ,

Blood Standard
May 29th, 2018 by diane92345

Blood Standard is a beautifully written slow-moving hardboiled noir.

Isaiah Coleridge is an enforcer with the Chicago mob. Since he is Maori, he can never be truly part of the Family. When he falls out of favor, he is sent to Nome Alaska, the “Mafia penal colony”. After letting his feelings toward animal cruelty get the best of him, he is abruptly tossed out of the Life. On his own and hiding in a small upstate New York commune, he looks into the disappearance of the granddaughter of the owners.

Definitely a “down these mean streets a man must go” noir. Blood Standard has many great quotes. My favorite is

“whenever you think of gangs, think Romance of the Three Kingdoms. In the gangster universe, it’s all ancient Chinese court drama. Face, protocol, plausible deniability. This is what motivates wise guys and bangers. Pussy and money too.”

Realistically, that thought could have been expressed in substantially fewer words—but it wouldn’t have been half as memorable. The book reads as if each sentence was edited and re-edited until it was the perfect example of the author’s thoughts. Laird Barron has won the Bram Stoker award for horror and was nominated for a World Fantasy award. This is his first mystery/thriller. Thrillers are by their nature propulsive reads. Speed accelerates the feeling of danger. Blood Standard flows along more slowly, savoring its words and thoughts, and so losing the thriller pacing. This may be okay for readers used to reading horror, fantasy, or even literary fiction. It just felt off to me. I kept putting off reading it but finally finished a couple weeks after I started it.

While I can’t recommend it, I don’t want to say it’s bad—it’s just different and is sure to appeal to some readers. 3 stars.

Thanks to the publisher, Dutton, and NetGalley for an advance copy.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: , ,