We were first made aware of this book by XPresso Book Tours. Thanks!
“Bad Luck” Benny is a fella from the wrong side of the tracks. Recently released from jail, he has vowed to keep his head down and stay out of trouble. But he also needs to care for his ailing sister and the rest of his struggling family, and he’ll do anything to make that happen—even if it means taking a position with a notorious crime boss. He soon finds himself in over his head—and worse still—falling for the one dame on earth he should be staying away from.
Masie is the daughter of a wealthy gangster with the voice of an angel and gun smoke in her veins. Strong-willed but trapped in a life she never wanted, she dreams of flying free from the politics and manipulation of her father. A pawn in her family’s fight for control of the city, and with a killer hot on her heels, she turns to the one person who just might be able to spring her from her gilded cage. But Masie is no angel, and her own dark secrets may come back to burn them both.
Two worlds collide in this compelling story of star-crossed lovers in gritty prohibition-era New York.
3 *** stars
|** spoiler alert ** I am torn about this book. For purely a fictional story, it was ok….. romance, suspense, crime, good plot, emotional connection to some of the characters, etc…. But the author took a tale out of history, with of cast of people that actually existed and changed some of what actually happened, to end up having a totally different outcome. This is the story of Dutch Shultz, the infamous mob boss. In the book, he is given a daughter named Maisie who is involved in a minor way in her father’s illegal activities. In real life, Dutch’s daughter was Anne Davis Flegenheimer (Dutch’s true surname) and was far too small to have been involved in any of his business at the time of his real-life death. Many of his “business” associates and employees actually existed including Vincent “Mad dog” Moll, Joey Noe,
“Legs” Diamond, Dixie Davis, and Otto Berman. His son J.D. (John David Flegenheimer in real-life) also plays a big role in the book, but in reality he was Anne’s little brother being just a few months old at the time of his father’s death, and not a grown adult as in the book. Dutch’s fictional daughter, Maisie falls for naive Benjamin “Benny” Fleisher who get innocently drawn into the racket out of desperate need for money to help support his family fallen on hard times. He is also fictional (though I have suspicions that his character is comprised of two real life mobsters Benjamin “Benny” “Bugsy” Siegal and Eddie Fleisher, but that is just a guess). The book ends with Dutch going to prison rather than being killed by his associates. The book should have a forward, telling the reader that some of these people did in fact exist, but that the author had taken literary license with the story, and written a “what if” instead. Because no thought to educating the reader to the real facts, it can be misleading– if the reader is ignorant of the real people, then they may believe that the entire story is purely a product of the author’s imagination, and if they had heard of Dutch Schultz, but not entirely aware of the story of his dealings and friends, they could be misled into thinking that it is accurate as far as bare bone facts and that the author had just fictionally filled in details. I believe if the author would include some sort of clarification, it would improve the book as a whole. I would surely given it a higher rating had it been present.
4 **** stars
This is a historical fiction romance set in 1927 in New York City. I think it was written with YA’s in mind, as it has teenagers as the main characters, but it has some more adult content in it that in my opinion isn’t suitable to that genre.
Benny is a teen who is forced to be the man of the house when his father dies, in charge of taking care of his mother and his two young siblings. Fresh out of jail from a bum rap, he only wants to live an honest life, but he cannot get an honest job because of his record. With his young sister Aggie deathly ill with a bad condition that needs an expensive specialist, he feels he has no other choice and takes a high-paying job from a local mob boss loading and unloading bootleg booze. When he steps in front of his boss just as somebody opens fire, and ends up taking a bullet for the mobster, the man shows his gratitude by promoting him to bodyguard for his teenaged daughter, Masie. Her beauty and personality draw him to her immediately.
Masie is a headstrong girl, as rough and tough as her father and simultaniously as sweet and kind as her mother was… when she was still around. When she meets Benny, his genuiness and goodness make her like him instantly, and they form a quick bond that only grows stronger as they get to know each other better.
It could never work out between them. Her father would never allow it if he knew. He had other plans for her, and she’s afraid that he’d stop at nothing to make those plans happen… even if it means killing Benny.
The book was full of ’20s jargon, fashion, and culture, and even had cameo appearences by historical figures. The way the author described in detail every motion and movement the characters made was as if you were seeing it yourself, and the period correct slang that fills the book helped to completely immerse you in the era and the story. It was entertaining, exciting, and enjoyable. However, it contained one or two pretty raunchy scenes, and some unrepentent sinful behavior from the “good guys”. Overall, I’d give it four stars.