Thanks to Hollywood, the 1930’s (in my mind) was all about the cigar toting, fedora wearing, machine gun carrying gangsters in pin stripe suits who say stuff like: broads, capisce and ‘Say hello to ma little friend’. This novella transports us back to this era effortlessly. The language, dialog and styling are so precise I could see it, even hear it all! The wooga-wooga of passing cars, the art deco styling, the unapologetic violence, and sociology of the gangster era is all very authentic.
Frankie and Gent are sexy sexy, dangerous men who lived by the mafia code of old world honour. They are also gay men who were forbidden to be together. Mob boss Sal separated them years ago, sending Frankie to run the LA operation and tying Gent to his side as assassin and henchman in New York. It’s years later and Frankie’s booming operation is under scrutiny from the local DA and Sal is not happy. Things need tidying up and so Sal sends Gent to ‘fix’ it.
I adore a forbidden love story, and the danger that surrounds this reunion is intense. Does Gent carry out his orders or does he follow his heart? Is there a point in the conscience of immoral men when enough is enough? Frankie and Gent must decide.
This story is flagrantly violent that sees these men swop their pin striped jackets for black leather aprons with ease. Betrayal and perceived wrongs are at best a brutal beating; forgiveness is a mercifully snapped necked. But it’s not all violence; it’s a cleverly plotted escape from the law and the ties of an age old institution. It’s angsty, it’s exciting, super sexy, moving and solid but dammit all …it’s too short!
For me this should have been Brita Addams epic love story, not Tarnished Gold. Frankie and Gent’s story has the legs to carry an epic love story from childhood beyond even this ending. This is much more to my taste, the characters feel alive and the pace and setting is perfect! Very nicely done, but it was over too quickly, too much is left hanging and the scope for more is immense. I still loved every minute of what was here and look forward to more of the Tarnished books. :)
End Note: You can totally read this is a standalone novella.