Happy Thursday readers another interesting review for you today. A couple of weeks back I was finding it incredibly difficult to get through the bulk of a couple of the books I was reading at the time. It wasn’t a reading slump per se, I just couldn’t push myself to get into the books. However, recently my blogging inbox has been stacked with new books to get my teeth into which has really helped pull me out of that dry reading patch and today’s review is one of them. I’m also experimenting with some scheduled posting because of my job and having to fit blogging in and around so many different things so we’ll see how that goes. Without further delay, onto the review.
September 1927, Chicago It took Al Capone three years to hunt down a brilliant but decrepit physicist who owed him a measly $7,000 for one reason: the physicist managed to reverse the aging process, rendering him unrecognizable. But Capone has no interest in this medical mystery. He just wants his money. To recover the debt, Capone orders the physicist’s daughter, Justine Bryce, the most successful cat burglar in town, to steal a luxurious necklace from a famous diplomat – while it’s still around her neck. Failure will ensure her father’s execution. As well as her own. Justine is determined to save her father at all costs. Even if it means trusting a man she is doomed to love forever, a charming but unattainable nightclub owner who trained her as a thief, Vance Flynn. Vance agrees to help, but he has his own reasons for securing the necklace. With only 24 hours to carry out the scheme, Justine needs to steal the necklace while dodging a shrewd but deranged detective who frames her for murder, not to mention double-cross the most vicious gangster in the country…all to avoid ending up on the wrong end of a gun.
So that’s quite an extensive blurb so I’m not going to say too much because I think there’s a lot to give a feel of the book as a whole already. The reason this book grabbed my attention was the historical fiction feature of the book and I did really find it intriguing. Tommy guns and speakeasies feature throughout helping to place the reader into a different time period. The author weaves a number of different plot lines including the lifting of the necklace, the difficult relationship between Justine and her father and the shifty and unreliable Greg Skinner who appears to be taking the law into his own hands. There are also a number of plot lines inter-weaved with the supporting characters that are managed wonderfully.
In terms of characteristation Justine is a brilliant character, spunky, determined, impulsive but also intelligent I loved reading about her adventures. In terms of her language some of it felt a little modern and didn’t quite fit with the period of the time however I found her as a main character intriguing to read about. Greg Skinner, although a character I loathed was a brilliant addition to the plot line. Corrupt, needy, obsessive; his character really added a sense of threat and dread to the novel which was really well built up. Additionally the supporting characters including Vance (I really had soft spot for him) and Vikki are given enough traits to help spin the storylines and make them feel real. I also thought the adding of the British detective was brilliant. Being a proud Brit it was nice to have it included.
A couple of criticisms; as I mentioned above although the style of writing is really solid I think there could have been more to make you feel as though you were transported to a different time. It’s the main reason I adore historical fiction and I felt although it was there, it could have been improved on. I also thought some of the plot lines fell through at the end especially within the exploration of Justine and her father’s relationship, it kind of didn’t go anywhere despite it being pivotal to the main plot line. If there is a second book in the writing I think this should be explored more thoroughly because it was a sticking point for me as a reader. I also thought that the ending was a little weak especially in terms of what happens to Vance. I don’t want to spoil it but it felt a little tied up in terms of Justine but also a little confused as to what had really happened. Once again if there’s a second book I can see this being something to explore more fully. Finally I felt that at times that the writing pace didn’t match the pace of the novel within; with the tension racking up the writing style didn’t quite make it punchy enough for me in some of the chapters especially at the beginning but I must admit it was getting there towards the end.
So, overall I really enjoyed this book as a concept and I’m glad to have been given the opportunity to read it. I think although the writing style was strong some discrepancies in language, style of the time and the writing pace (I hope I’ve explained that coherently) lost me a little. Room for a little improvement but overall still a great read. Great characters, great ideas and definitely worth a read; with a few tweaks this could be bang on.