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The Wicked City: A Novel Hardcover – January 17, 2017
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From the Back Cover
When she discovers her banker husband has been harboring a secret life, Ella Gilbert escapes their sleek SoHo loft for a studio in a quaint building in Greenwich Village. But her new refuge isn’t quite what it seems. Her charismatic musician neighbor, Hector, warns her to stay out of the basement after midnight, when a symphony of mysterious noise strikes up—laughter, clinking glasses, jazz piano, the occasional bloodcurdling scream—even though it’s stood empty for decades. Back in the Roaring Twenties, the building hosted one of the city’s most notorious speakeasies.
In 1924, Geneva “Gin” Kelly, a quick-witted flapper from the hills of western Maryland, is a regular at this Village hideaway known as the Christopher Club. Caught up in a raid, Gin lands in the office of Prohibition enforcement agent Oliver Anson, who persuades her to help him catch her stepfather, Duke Kelly, one of Appalachia’s most notorious bootleggers.
Sired by a wealthy New York scion who abandoned her showgirl mother, Gin is nobody’s fool. She strikes a risky bargain with the taciturn, straightarrow Revenue agent, even though her on-again, off-again Princeton beau, Billy Marshall, wants to make an honest woman of her and heal the legacy of her hard-scrabble childhood. Gin’s alliance with Anson rattles Manhattan society, exposing sins that shock even this free-spirited redhead—sins that echo from the canyons of Wall Street to the mountain hollers of her hometown.As Ella unravels the strange history of the building—and the family thread that connects her to Geneva Kelly—she senses the Jazz Age spirit of her incandescent predecessor invading her own shy nature, in ways that will transform her life in the wicked city . . .
About the Author
A graduate of Stanford University with an MBA from Columbia, Beatriz Williams spent several years in New York and London hiding her early attempts at fiction, first on company laptops as a communications strategy consultant, and then as an at-home producer of small persons, before her career as a writer took off. She lives with her husband and four children near the Connecticut shore.
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Back in the 1920's we meet Gin - Geneva Kelly, a young woman with a kind of double life, who frequents that speakeasy in New York. It is the time of prohibition and Gin finds herself caught up in the whole booze trafficking business. She is innocent, but her greasy slime ball stepfather is not, growing a big business in her old home place in the Appalachian mountains.
Gin is friends with a young gentleman Billy, but soon she finds herself interacting with Oliver Anson, a person who is tracking down all those who work in the drink trafficking business and especially Duke Kelly.
I liked the story, Gin grew on me as the story progressed, she is a brave determined woman, looking for answers. She is very loyal to those she loves. And it turns out she has some great skills, although she has experienced hard times.
There is plenty of action, the plot moves along well and the link between the two eras is fairly well done, but I did expect to see something more in that link. I do have a few reservations about the book because I felt there were objects and happenings that got no final explanation or resolution except well... "let's let it go and move on". I want more than that! I also flipped the page and found the end. And I said aloud "What?" It left me wanting more and disappointed. However this is the beginning of a series. Perhaps there will be more about these characters. I can hope!
In spite of those reservations I did enjoy the story, getting a peek at those Prohibition days and what it led to. Strange times. It kept me turning the pages and I enjoyed it. Will I read the next one? Of course.