Bennie Rosato is a good lawyer - smart, tough and she never backs down from a fight or at least she didn't until she walked away from young Jason Lefkanick and a hunky state trooper. Now years later, she gets a second chance to mend the past as Jason, now an adult, is accused of murder. Great courtroom drama with a side of romance - this is an convoluted plot that shares all the good, bad and ugly of the justice system.
This is a book that should be savored in small bites instead of plunging into its hefty 900 plus pages. While the story centers on a shooting of a young girl in Central Park and events before the big blackout of the summer of 1977, it is really the characters that carry the storyline. Each, like the city itself, is flawed. The wealthy family with the screwed up kids, a love affair between a gentle soul and a rich reckless heroin addict, two young people who start out following a punk rock band which goes to a dark side they didn't expect - these are the stories that make up the city on fire. It is a love affair with the underbelly of New York City and the distaste for people who have power and money and still waste their lives. "City on Fire" is a beautiful portrayal of a flawed system with flawed people- like finding a flower growing between the cracks of the sidewalk next to a crack house.
I always enjoy a good western tale especially one that is doesn't hold back on the guts, glory and stupidity of winning the West. "Buffalo Trail" begins with our lonely romantic Cash trying to make money to get back to his long lost sweetheart so they can be married. He joins a buffalo hunt thinking it will be a quick way to make a buck only to find out that the hardships on the trail and the unwelcome attention of the Native American population makes his job tough. The secondary story is that of Quanah Parker and the joining of the Indian Nation to go fight and rid their land of the annoying and wasteful White Man. I found Quanah's story much more interesting and was fascinated by the fierceness and determination on their part to band together and not give up without a fight. They seemed out-manned and out-gunned but had more passion than the buffalo hunters, settlers and the Army. Jeff Guinn's quirky characters make for an interesting read and there is just enough realism to make you glad you did not live during those times.
It is the roaring 20's and the world is waking up to a new day - this one is faster and more adventurous than before but many are still grieving the loss of loved ones killed during the Great War in Europe. The combination of grief, relief that the war is over and a new "try anything" spirit in the 1920's lead many to believe in a new science - spiritualism and seances to speak to the dearly departed are all the rage. Men and women from all walks of life are part of this but it is the wealthy who seem to take advantage of it the most. Soon every dinner party ends with a seance, bored women drop by mediums to spend the afternoon and the grief stricken will fall prey to many a huckster. Some notable men become involved in the quest for knowledge and fame - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a spiritualist, will help the cause in any way and brings in his friend, the famous magician Harry Houdini, to help prove it. The author clearly sees Houdini as a petty crybaby who fights for approval of his craft and hopes that disproving spiritualism will finally give him credibility. Soon a wager and contest is arranged in hopes of proving this new science or showing it to be simple fraud. Endless mediums fail to make an impact and Houdini thinks he has won but then a well off Doctor's wife comes out of the woodwork. Dubbed " The Witch of Lime Street" using the name Margery and channeling the spirit of her dead brother Walter, they will give the scientists something to ponder. A lively history lesson as well as entertaining look at the lengths people will go to in proving the existence of something they don't understand but are passionate about. Mina's brother Walter the ghost is the best part of the book.
I love to read good books and share the new books that are available and those that are coming soon