New York City, 1924
Once their paths cross, their worlds will never be the same.
Danny Moore and his crew only meant to rob the hotel suites of rich guests. He wasn’t supposed to find himself in gangster Ricky il Sacchi’s room. And il Sacchi wasn’t supposed to wind up dead. Now Danny has the attention of another notorious gangster.
Carmine Battaglia is intrigued by the Irish thieves who would have made off with a huge score if not for il Sacchi’s death. They’re cunning, careful, and exactly what he needs for his rum running operation. But Danny’s already lost two brothers to the violence between New York’s Irish and Sicilian gangs, and he’s not about to sell his soul to Carmine.
With a gangster’s blood on his hands, Danny needs protection, whether he likes it or not. And that’s to say nothing of the generous pay, which promises to pull him and his crew—not to mention their families—out of destitution.
Working together brings Danny and Carmine to a détente, then to something so intense neither can ignore it. Something nearly enough to make them both forget the brutal tensions between their countrymen.
But the death of Ricky il Sacchi hasn’t been forgotten. And someone is determined to make Danny bleed for it.
The Venetian and the Rum Runner is a 144,000-word gay historical romantic suspense novel set during Prohibition and the Roaring Twenties.
CW: graphic violence, PTSD
I don’t usually gravitate toward historicals, but prohibition era 1920’s NYC? I’ll totally read that. Plus, L.A. Witt. I’ll always read her books.
First off, what is obvious is the amount of research that was done for this book. Historical accuracies as far as politics, places, people and language were really well done. Nothing takes me out of a story faster than dropping current slang into a book that isn’t current.
Back to it. Although this is touted as a romance, it takes a looooooooooong time to get to that. And this book is hefty. Before that though is a really good story of an Irish petty thief and his band of brothers and the Italian mafia. Italians hate the Irish, Irish hate the Italians, etc. American racism and bigotry go way back.
After another mafioso is killed, Danny is given an offer he can’t refuse. (I’m sorry, had to do it) Carmine needs a new group of liquor runners and Danny needs not only the money, but also the little protection Carmine can offer him as an employee of the family.
What follows is a pretty epic story. Danny and his best friend who love each other but do nothing about it. Danny trying to help his remaining brother with money. Carmine’s sister wanting in on it. Several speakeasies, including one that has drag queen performers and seems to cater to “Danny’s kind”.
On the other side, Carmine is dealing with fallout from the other gangster’s murder, his spitfire sister and his feelings for Danny.
Even though the entire story doesn’t cover much of a time period, I am still calling it an epic. The writing sucks you right into the story and the time frame. You CARE about these men- even Carmine the gangster. There was even one part that made me say “SHUT UP!” out loud.
But listen, it is brutal at points. These are gangsters. Dealing with illegal liquor and other stolen goods. The author doesn’t shy away from the brutality, which just makes it more authentic.
Great read. In all honesty, calling it a romance is a total stretch because it takes them so long to get there and while it definitely drives the men to do some of the things they do, it’s just not a big part of the story.
4.5 Pieces of Eye Candy