3 out of 4 stars
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It’s the 1960’s, and you are invited into The Starlight Club, a hangout for one of Chicago’s largest mob families. The Starlight Club by Joe Corso is written in the third person and is based on a true story.
Bobby travels to New York to see his daughter, and he gets her to take them to a special place from his past. He is very disappointed when he realises that it has changed beyond recognition. He then starts to tell his daughter about the incredible place it used to be, and some of the things that happened there. It used to be called The Starlight Club!
The Starlight Club was owned and operated by Big Red. This was one of many legitimate businesses owned and operated by the mob. The mob was run by Don Yip Carnevale, and Big Red was his heir apparent. Bobby used to deliver meat there, and he was friendly with most of the staff, including Big Red. As such he knew more about the mobs business than perhaps he should, but this was the first time he’d spoken about it.
Trenchie got out of jail and went to stay at The Starlight Club. He got sent to jail for manslaughter, taking the rap for one of his bosses. As such, they had fixed him up with his own restaurant business, so he was a man of means. Being loyal to the mob he continued to work for them, even though he had come out of jail in the middle of a mob war. While still staying at The Starlight Club, Trenchie stops four Latinos when they break in and start smashing up the place. While it is being renovated, Trenchie goes for a walk and just happens to hear a woman screaming. He rescues Mary from her ex husband and offers to take her for dinner to help calm her. This is the start of a great love story.
One of the other mob boys, Jimmy the Hat, is really handsome. So Red sends him to Hollywood for a screen test. Jimmy arrives just as they are casting a new film called “Mob Enforcer” and being a perfect fit for the role is offered the lead. This among other things really shows the depth of feelings and respect that they have for each other. I really loved this about the book.
The war escalates until a large explosion kills three people, one of them very important! Who it was and what happens next? You’ll have to read The Starlight Club to find out.
Before I started to read this book, I was expecting it to contain lots of action and violence. However, after reading it I realised that this is more of a dad by day description of the lives of the members of the mob, with only sporadic action. It portrays the characters as normal humans, fighting only when they must. Fiercely loyal to each other, always willing to help each other as needed. Having never been part of something like this I can see the appeal, even if most of what they do is outside the law. The book also highlights how lucky we are to live at this time, rather than then. They just had to pay the right guy and they’d get away with just about anything. It’s very different now.
The story contains many characters, most of these were gangsters, which were hard to keep track of as they all acted in a similar way. However, the main characters stood out and were easily recognisable and I found them easy to like.
The ending of the book was not what I was expecting, which was a nice surprise. It also wasn’t a cliff-hanger, so this looks like a single book, not part of a series. Though with the style of writing I could be wrong and the tale could continue with another book.
The language of the writing is contemporary to the era concerned, so it’s difficult to say if a grammar mistake is done on purpose to go with the style or is a genuine mistake. That being said, I did find several mistakes that stood out as being wrong. These didn’t really affect the flow of the story. I found the story to be quite slow with no obvious plot, so I feel that I have to give this book only 3 out of 4 stars. I think this book would appeal to anyone who likes historical novels. I also think that people looking for an action packed story should avoid this one.
The Starlight Club
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