I am absolutely delighted to be taking part in the Blog Tour today for a fabulous Alex Cohen Series by Leopold Borstinski. I have been a fan of this series from the very start and when the lovely Emma at damppebbles asked for bloggers to share reviews I immediately jumped on board.
Today I am sharing snippets of my reviews for books 1-3 and the books are The Bowery Slugger – East Side Hustler – Midtown Huckster. They chart the rise of Alex Cohen in the early part of the 1900’s in America.
Three decades in the life of Jewish gangster, Alex Cohen, as he arrives in the US and forges a life for himself and his family using the blood, sweat and tears of those who stand in his way.
This digital box set contains the first three books in the saga of Alex Cohen’s life:
THE BOWERY SLUGGER
When Alex Cohen arrives in 1915 America, he seizes the land of opportunity with both hands and grabs it by the throat. But success breeds distrust and Alex must choose between controlling his gang and keeping his friend alive. What would you do if the person you trusted most is setting you up to die at your enemies’ hands?
PART OF MY REVIEW…
I do like historical fiction and when I love it when I come across something new or I learn something I didn’t know before. This book gave me loads of new words, they are Yiddish words and I thought there inclusion was a great addition to the story. Using them as part of conversations adds an authenticity to the story, it also keeps various characters voices in the style and speech of the time. It may be a stereotype that I hold in my head, but for me it gives a character life. This is where reading a digital copy came in very handy as I was able to use the dictionary as I read.
There are so many good things about this book that I liked, the characters were great enough for the story and it would have been easy to add too many as the story feels quite big, but the author got the numbers just right. The story line is one that I really enjoyed, in some respect Alex should be a baddie, but I actually liked him a lot.
EAST SIDE HUSTLER…
Alex returns from the Great War almost destroyed by the horrors he has experienced. When he is plucked from certain death by an old friend, he commits to making so much money he’ll never know that agony again. But the route to the top is filled with danger and every time he helps one of his powerful friends like Al Capone, he acquires more enemies who want to see him dead. The turmoil caused by the death of organised crime financier, Arnold Rothstein means Alex must once more fight for his life. How far would you go to seize the American dream? And could you protect your family along the way from the fellas who want to see you dead?
PART OF MY REVIEW…
Things are getting more dangerous for everyone in 1920’s America and as Prohibition looms things are getting tense. Prohibition strains all gangs and they are often at odds with each other, but also alliances are made. The meeting of new allies inevitably sees one of the most infamous names making an appearance in the story, that is one Al Capone.
This is a book that really does exude the roaring 20’s with mobs, gangs, prohibition and illegal drinking and gambling. While this is all going on Alex also has a family to take care of and like many other families, his also becomes a target.
The Bowery Slugger saw Alex Cohen starting his journey into the gangs, East Side Hustler sees him making his mark as a major player and they are both excellent reads.
Alex runs Murder Inc for Lucky Luciano. After the death of Prohibition he must find a new way to make money, just as the cops are baying at his heels. When Luciano goes down for racketeering, Alex loses his protection and is arrested for tax evasion-he must decide between saving his skin and ratting out his friends. If he chooses prison time then his gang will fall apart and he will end up with nothing. If he squeals then he will have to flee the city he loves and the family he once adored. What would you do in a world where nobody can be trusted and you have everything to lose?
PART OF MY REVIEW…
The book once again uses various points of history to keep the story in the right period, with mentions of Thomas Dewey who was a New York City prosecutor in the 1930’s and whose aim was to beat organised crime. I like these historical mentions as it makes for great additional reading outside of the story.
Times are changing and not necessarily in Alex’s favour. As he has had his fingers in many pies and looks for more ways to earn a living, the more the investigators have to go on, and what they can’t find well…
OVERALL – THE STORY SO FAR…
I absolutely love this series and even though Alex is essentially a bad guy, I do have a soft spot for him. The author has shown the growth of Alex through the decades and keeps it in line with historical events. Alex is one who will find himself in deep water given the nature of his business, but how he emerges out the other side, is always something that me as a reader on my toes. This is a series that has been brilliantly written and really does feel right for the period of history it is set in. Book 4, The Casino Chiseler is the next one and is also an excellent read with Book 5 due out soon.
If you like American Historical Fiction then you really should look to pick this series up. You will not be disappointed!
About the Author…
Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.
There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.
He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.
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