Thanks to Minotaur Books for the free advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.
BUTTON MAN – Andrew Gross (out now!)
Historical fiction meets thriller – my kind of novel!
My Thoughts: 5/5 stars!
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of historical fiction, and when you couple that with a thriller-pace story then I’m hooked! BUTTON MAN was my introduction to Andrew Gross and I can’t believe I’ve never picked up any of his other books before.
This is set in 1930’s New York, just after Prohibition and at the height of the mafia power in the Unions. We follow the stories of three brothers – Sol, Harold, and Morris Rabishevsky. Jewish boys growing up in a poor area of New York just trying to keep their family afloat. Hard work pays off when Sol is a successful accountant and Morris is running a garment manufacturing facility. Harry is still trying to find his way and gets mixed in with the likes of known gangsters.
Morris and Sol go into business together to start their own garment manufacturing business, but when the gangsters catch wind of it they begin to feel the pressure to unionize (really just making sure the mafia gets their cut).
For a historical fiction novel this moved at a fast pace. I found myself completely engrossed in the lives of the Raab brothers. The hardships they faced early in life and continue to because of where they grew up – the judgment and stereotyping was a very real thing. With brothers that didn’t back down and stood up for themselves, this proved to work against them when the mobsters wanted to get their cut of their successful business. I did love that there was Yiddish sprinkled throughout the book. My dad’s side of the family is Jewish and I definitely grew up hearing it, we even have a book of Yiddish at home still.
Between the setting, the culture, and the violence from the mafia, this felt so authentic and the characters were brought to life. This isn’t too heavy on the historical part of the genre, so don’t let that deter you from picking it up.
Any recommendations on other Andrew Gross novels? I need to pick up more of his work!