The hotly anticipated sequel to The Pictures. Guy Bolton’s unforgettable 1930s Hollywood fixer Jonathan Craine is thrust into the dark underbelly of the LA mafia, only to discover more secrets and lies

June 1947

Eight years have passed since the events of The Pictures.

Jonathan Craine has left his old life in Hollywood behind him, content to live out his days on a farm in rural California with his teenage son.

But when infamous mobster and Las Vegas founder Bugsy Siegel is killed at his home in Beverly Hills, Craine is forced to face his past once again.

Summoned to Las Vegas to meet mob head Meyer Lansky, Craine is given the impossible task of finding Siegel’s murderers. He has no access to crime reports, no police contacts and no one to help in his investigation other than an ageing hit man and a female crime reporter with her own agenda. But Lanksy’s orders aren’t to be ignored; if Craine can’t find Siegel’s murderers in five days, he and his son will both be killed.

With a gripping terrifying start this book takes off at a breathtaking pace.

Using actual facts for a fictional novel isn’t by any means a new concept but there’s an endless fascination for old time gangsters and mobsters and the golden age of Hollywood. Bugsy Siegel was part of both worlds.

Source: Mobmuseum.org

Here are the facts: Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel (February 28, 1906  – June 20, 1947) was an American mobster. Siegel was known as one of the most “infamous and feared gangsters of his day”. Described as handsome and charismatic, he became one of the first front-page celebrity gangsters. He was also a driving force behind the development of the Las Vegas Strip. Siegel was not only influential within the Jewish mob but, like his friend and fellow gangster Meyer Lansky, he also held significant influence within the American Mafia and the largely Italian-Jewish National Crime Syndicate. Source: Wikipedia

The book begins with the murder of Bugsy Siegel and then the quiet peace of a Californian country farm owned by former LAPD Hollywood Division homicide Detective Jonathan Craine and his teenage son, is shattered by the arrival via helicopter of armed violent mobsters. The gangsters want Craine’s co-operation to go with them but won’t say who they’re working for and use violent coercion on his son Michael to force him into submission.

They fly him to Las Vegas to meet their boss, gangster and mobster Meyer Lansky who wants him to find out who murdered Bugsy Siegel but he only has five days to do it and meanwhile his injured son Michael will be kept hostage back at the farm to ensure he carries out his wishes. With his former detective official resources no longer available to him, he has an uphill impossible sounding task that he dare not carry through or his son’s life is at risk.

Crime reporter Tilda Conroy is working on her own investigation into the killing. There’s also an FBI agent on the case too so with a backdrop of mob violence, corruption, money laundering and Hollywood sleaze, not to mention J. Edgar Hoover’s continuing witchhunt of the stars he suspects of un-American communist activities. The odds of actually finding the killer of Bugsy Siegel appear to be very slim indeed for Craine.

This is the first book I’ve read by Guy Bolton and I understand it is the second one in the Craine series. I must now read the first one The Pictures. It can be read as a stand alone.

An enjoyably tense action packed thriller that will no doubt appeal to fans of that era and the Murder.Inc history. Classic Noir at its best and the author has obviously researched those times exceedingly well. I enjoyed the read and it reminded me very much of reading some of the pulp fiction novels that my late father enjoyed reading and I developed quite a taste for them and their wonderfully lurid covers by reading his copies myself, probably unbeknownst to him!

To Purchase on Amazon UK

Guy Bolton lives in London and has worked in publishing, film and television. Guy is also a screenwriter whose work has been optioned by Bedlam Productions, Hat Trick and Tiger Aspect. He is the author of The Pictures. Last year it was short-listed in the Telegraph Harvill Secker crime writing competition and the CWA New Blood Award.

With many thanks to Margot Weale at Point Blank Books for the ARC review copy of The Syndicate