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Set in the time of tough liquor laws, a heartbreaking depression and all that Jazz…this first novel is a winner from beginning to end. Atmospheric, easy-to-read, well drawn characters, great plot line, there is nothing not to like.
In this pivotal, dangerous and exciting time, no one had more power than the bootlegger. And no one suffered more from interference in their business dealings than those who operated under the radar. In situations of hypocrisy and double dealing, it was the bootlegger whose avenues of trust were severely compromised. Fontana, this books main character, finds himself in exactly the kind of situation he doesn’t want to be in. Scrambling desperately to find a solution, his coolness on the outside is not reflected on the inside, the journey to find answers escalates and Fontana finds himself sucked into a vortex of political intrigue and criminal overload with no sure way out. The characters he encounters are murky to say the least. They are well drawn by the author, believable − and in all their tattered glory, they fit.
This book is Fontana’s journey, and he carries the lead very well. The supporting characters add to and enhance the journey, and the place and time in which the book is set has been well researched. Having read countless books set in this era, both fiction and non fiction, I feel I can say that Ben Atkins has got it right.
This book was an easy, engaging and satisfying read, it was well paced and very hard to put down. I certainly hope that Ben Atkins writes more novels in this genre, he has an aptitude for it and at 20, a long future in front of him.
Reviewed by Marion Dreadon
by Ben Atkins
Published by Random House