Hard Case: A Bloody Business by Dylan Struzan, 2019, 9781785657702.
A new novel from Hard Case Crime. A retelling of the spread of organized crime in the first half of the Century. A few months ago I read the introductions by Tommy Sobeck, Jr. and the Struzan and got hooked on the concept. Sobeck was pals with former mobster Jimmy Alo from 1970s until Alo's death in 2001. Alo was a friend and partner of Meyer Lansky and introduced Lansky to Sobeck. Sobeck became good pals with Alo and Sobeck even lived with Alo for 1.5 years while Alo's house was under construction.
Alo and Lansky came up together through the street gang years, Prohibition, and all the gambling, prostitution, hijacking, smuggling, extortion and other rackets that spread from New York City. The worked with or competed against mobsters and killers who are still famous today. Lucky Luciano, Al Capone, Dutch Schultz, Bugsy Siegel, Mad Dog Coll, Legs Diamond, and many others. After years of stories by Alo and Alo's mobster pals Alo allowed Sobeck to record their conversations for a book. Sobeck brought Struzan into the project in 1995 and she interviewed Alo until Alo's death 6 years later.
Anyhoo. The novel is pretty neat but a bit long. I say the novel is long but Sturzan likely had to cut out a ton of stories. I've read a decent amount about the gangster wave of the '20s and '30s and enjoyed Struzan's telling. I ended up seeing the mobsters much more as people rather than bad guys. They were certainly plenty of murderers but guys like Lansky and Alo were looking to make money. Violence hurt business.
I finished reading this back in January and don't recall many details or stories. I did learn how tightly connected so many mobsters were. Those relationships have been shown in TV and movies but I thought a lot of that was dramatic license. The friendships and business relationships stayed tight through a lot of activity and turmoil.
I do wish the story had gone further and covered Bugsy Siegel's murder. Oh well.
EDIT: I was often confused when reading this because there are so many recognizable names. A character would appear and I could not recall if the character was already introduced or if I recognized the guy from other books.
EDIT 2: Kinda neat when Valachi shows up and knowing what happens later on. I don't think the famous Coney Island Defenstration of Kid Twist is covered but I sure wanted it to be.