Today is my stop on the blog tour for ‘East Side Hustler’ by Leopold Borstinski, organised by Damppebbles Blog Tours. I was delighted to participate in this tour, and to this fascinating book, and I hope that you will check out both the author and the book.
*Disclaimer: ‘I was given a copy this book in exchange for an honest review.’*
Alex lived through the war, but will he survive the peace?
Jewish gang member, Alex comes back from the Great War almost destroyed by the horrors he has seen. 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 fraught 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. When organised crime financier, Arnold Rothstein dies, the turmoil caused by his loss sets in train a chain of events which means Alex must once more fight for his life. How far would you go to attain your American dream?
The second book in the Alex Cohen series is a violent historical novel, which tears through the Prohibition years of the Jewish New York mob. Leopold Borstinski’s gripping crime noir pierces the heart of every reader like a bullet from Alex’s sniper rifle.
I haven’t read book one in the Alex Cohen series, ‘The Bowery Slugger’ although it has definitely been added to the TBR list. However, ‘East Side Hustler’ can easily be read as a standalone novel. I found myself quickly picking up the relationships between the characters, and a good idea of their past experiences, if not all the nuances.
I found the character of Alex fascinating, and the two main facets of his life – the war, and the trauma from those experiences, and his work for the gangs well beautifully interwoven. It meant that he never became defined by one thing and stopped him from merely being characterised as a gangster. Even with the violence and scheming that makes up a large part of the book, and later his devolving need for power and money. He’s an excellent lesson in characterisation, and you can’t help but emphasise with him, and while you do not always like him or the other characters for that matter over the length of the story, they are all the more believable because of it.
What made me fall in love with this book, though, is the historical aspect – the research and worldbuilding, that brought the fascinating world of the 1920s to life. The roaring ’20s and Prohibition are something most of us know about from school, but this story lets us live it and not just through the ‘glitz and glamour’ that many associates with this era. This book looks not only at the gangs themselves, but their interactions and exploitations, as well as the logistics of Prohibition and the threats to their business, without losing sight of the character and his personal relationships. Flawless writing, and the blending of actual historical figures such as Al Capone among others involved in the gangs during this period, give it a degree of realism that is fascinating and shocking in equal measure and creates a story that flows from start to finish.
I would highly recommend East Side Hustler to anyone who has an interest in this period, as well as to fans of crime noir.
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.
East Side Hustler – Leopold Borstinski (Published in paperback and digital formats by Sobriety Press on 21st March 2020) – 4/5 (4 Stars)
If you’ve read it or read in the future, please feel free to shout at me about this fantastic book. Or if you have any recommendations for similar books, please shoot them my way.
East Side Hustler (Alex Cohen #2) by Leopold Borstinski
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