He heard footsteps. Then labored breathing.
The hobo limped into the trees. He saw Bell, plunged a hand into his coat, and whipped out a knife in a blur of starlight on steel.
Run? Thought Bell. Not and turn his back on the knife. He grabbed the heavy satchel to block the knife, and formed a fist.
My first – but definitely not my last – foray into Cussler’s works, The Gangster, is a well-constructed presentation of the early 20th Century New York world of the wealthy and the poor; the exploited immigrant workers and the old money family; the gangs and the victims; the murderous and the law keepers.
It revolves around the ever-growing enterprise of Branco, who has driven his way up from being a labourer on the run, to putting himself at the top of the criminal killing chain. His scheming is well-spread and well-executed, all the while working in secret. His final goal? Well, let me just say…someone as high as one could get in 1906 America.
In his way to the top are the city police and the highly respected Van Dorn Detective Agency, whose top agent Isaac Bell had met Branco years earlier when involved in hi-jinks while at Yale.
Fast-paced, the shifts in scene turn the tale to something as close to an action movie as any novel can get, while the prologue allows new readers such as me (or am I the only one?) an effective introduction to both characters.
This is Cussler’s ninth in the Isaac Bell series, co-authored with Justin Scott (as have been all but the first). I would have appreciated seeing the credits for the artwork prefacing sections of the book; they are a perfect “match” to the style and setting.
Reviewed by Lynn McAnulty-Street, also on her own blog Red Penn Reviews
by Clive Cussler
Published by Michael Joseph, imprint of Penguin Random house NZ,
For earlier titles in the Isaac Bell series, visit the author’s official site…