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IL Review- Road Trip Dog

Feb 24, 2019

It’s the caterpillar’s spats!
Or if you prefer, the Cat’s Meow! Mix a Prohibition story with the madness of the Roaring Twenties and the reader should expect a potent cocktail of a story. So let me recommend that you get this first book in a very promising series, set yourself in your favorite reading chair, have a glass of wine or whiskey (or tea or coffee if you prefer) at hand. That’s the setup to get yourself carried straight into 1920s Philadelphia, a hotbed of rumrunners and bootleggers to supply the contraband, corrupt city officials to conveniently wink at it while filling their pockets with bribes, and a single mom determined to do her best to for her son and survive through it all. Here’s why:

There are people who adapt and learn, adjust to the realities of life and carry on. That’s Maggie. She’s the single mom. She starts out a bit naive, shy, intolerant. But Maggie proves to be more than that. She wants a better life for herself and her son and has the smarts and determination to learn and go for it. Maggie knows it ain’t gonna be easy and she may be shocked at what she learns and what she does, but that won’t stop her. One of the most compelling story lines is Maggie’s learning experiences and how she adapts.

Then there’s those who are set in their ways and don’t seem to be able to learn much so they expect to enjoy life only on their terms. That’s Mickey Duffy, major supplier of contraband. He’s got street smarts and connections, he is tough and surrounds himself with guys who don’t let being in a dangerous and illegal occupation get in the way of making money.

Then there’s those with a ghostly presence. That would be Inspector Frank Geyer. I’m not normally drawn to elements of the supernatural, but stay with me on this. Just like Maggie, ya sometimes gotta keep an open mind to learn about different stuff.

All the characters are well drawn and own their personalities. Maggie’s son Tommy reminds me of the little boy I was with all the shenanigans that went with growing up in a big city. Edith, Mickey’s wife is one of my favorites because she’s an independent minded fashionable flapper with a good heart who has for better or worse fallen in love with Mickey. Maggie and Edith become best of friends, which by their backgrounds their friendship would be unlikely, but reading how it develops is one of the rewards for the reader. Edith may live in luxury but that doesn’t mean an easy life. Same for Inspector Frank as he comes into the story, proving that being a ghost isn’t an easy existence. There is a diverse cast of characters from Mickey’s best pal Henry, to police of both the straight and crooked varieties, to Maggie’s new boarders that she takes on, and several others. Do I like good character development? If I lived in the 1920s would I want to get my whiskey? Hell yes! So let’s put it all together.

The author, Sherilyn Decter, weaves the story in a compelling plot line with plenty of surprises. There’s lots of references to life in Philadelphia in the 1920s that gave me the feeling of “being there”, which is one of the reasons I enjoy a well crafted historical fiction novel. As Edith would tell you “You’re posilutely gonna love this book.”