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Bootleg Broadway Paperback – May 29, 2015
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Learn more
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It does sky rocket Billy to fame, with his name in lights; his own hit play on Broadway, and records. Billy is flying high while his wife sinks into depression and drugs. With the mobs involvement in bootleg whiskey, prostitution, and now moving into drugs and gambling, Billy also sees that it must end, but in the mob, there’s only one way out.
This was a fascinating story set in Prohibition and the Depression era New York. We see inside the Mafia, even meeting Al Capone and other high-ups in the mob. There are dirty cops and politicians on the take. The author did her research, and the reader is better for it. The love story is bittersweet, and the story ends as only such a story can when the mob runs the show – and your life. Yes, it’s a romantic tale, yet it’s also a Mafia story, and I highly recommend it to readers especially interested in the period, and for those who love a good yarn, and want to be entertained. It’s not just a love story.
Soon, Billy is offered a job he can’t refuse and becomes involved with a shady business. At first he tries to deny his involvement. ““I am a musician, and that’s that!...I go to the club, play, get my pay, come home.” When he and Pru begin to argue about his work, he says ‘“I
wish you’d stop calling it the mob. For the last time,
I’m not in the—” Then he said what he’d been thinking and was afraid to admit it to himself.’
Even as he gets deeper into the mob, the book is laced with humorous moments. When Pru goes into labor, she’s whisked away to a hospital and Billy has to scramble to find which one. When she goes again for a drug overdose, he shows up in just his trench coat. Billy and hospital emergencies don’t mix.
As his work becomes more and more dangerous, it takes its toll on his marriage. Pru begins to lose her patience with the fights and the death threats. Billy knows it’s time for a change but will he get his revenge on mob that ruined his life?
Quotes at the beginnings of each chapter set up the tale and give the reader an overview of the events of the day. Told through a narrator and through Billy’s journal entries, Bootleg Broadway is an in-depth look at the excitement and dangers of the time.
Billy McGlory is a train wreck in the best possible sense. Ms. Rubino has written a brilliantly flawed character whose good intentions spin slowly but inevitably out of control. I couldn't stop tracking his descent into hell and wondering, as he does, how he'd get out of this. A beautiful character study and a fascinating story of the American Thirties in all their danger and dazzle. Bravo!
This novel draws you to the main character like a magnet. You're right there through all the ups and downs of his life and it's a captivating life. The plot is compelling and unpredictable as it builds to its climax. And WOW! what an ending!!!