Award-winning author Matt Cost brings us back to Brooklyn in the Roaring ’20s and introduces us to Hungarian private eye, 8 Ballo, who is hired to find the daughter of a wealthy businessman. The search will lead him to cross paths with Dorothy Parker, Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Coleman Hawkins, Bugsy Siegel, Babe Ruth, and many more as he tries to uncover why Velma went awry.
8 Ballo’s mother was certain he was going to be born a girl, but when he comes out a boy, she writes down simply the number 8, as he has seven older siblings. She meant to change it to a real name at some point but never got around to it.
Now, in his mid-thirties, 8 is a college-educated man, a veteran of the Great War, jilted in love, and has his own private investigator business. He enjoys his friends, a good book, jazz music, and a very simple life. When he is hired to find the young flapper daughter of a German businessman, life suddenly becomes much more complicated.
A young girl was raised by a step-father after her mother’s death at age 13.
Velma seems to be far off the rails of society’s norms and heading for personal destruction. 8 Ballo is a private detective hired by her father to find her and bring her home. Her father, Mr. Hartmann, is paying well and wants to have his daughter home and under his thumb.
Finding Velma is not so easy. She has protectors in the underworld of the city and some of her father’s competitors would love to see him eliminated. There is an ongoing struggle in the city for the continued dominance of the drug and prostitution trade. Velma is caught in between.
Detective Bello runs into issues when he is finally is able to track her down. She is exceedingly beautiful and has many admirers who would fall on their swords for the young lady. Meanwhile, her father’s competitors would like to control her and ruin her father’s hold on the drug trade.
Falling for the charms of Velma was not in 8’s plan, but she has him under her thumb and he is torn between his contract to her father and his affection for Velma. The story takes many twists and keeps the reader engaged. Enjoy! 4.5 stars – CE Williams
This is Book 1 in a new series (we think). We’ve read his Clay Wolfe/Port Essex Mystery series as well as the Goff Langdon Mainely Mystery series. Each series has grown and the author’s writing style matured. We enjoyed each one. This one is off to a good start as well. Recommended!
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.
Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars
Genre: Historical Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Fiction, Private Investigator Mysteries
Publisher: Encircle Publications
Print Length: 306 pages
Publication Date: April 12, 2023
Source: Auther and NetGalley
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The Author: Matt Cost was a history major at Trinity College. He owned a mystery bookstore, a video store, and a gym, before serving a ten-year sentence as a junior high school teacher. In 2014 he was released and began writing. And that’s what he does. He writes histories and mysteries.
Cost has published four books in the Mainely Mystery series, with the fifth, “Mainely Wicked”, due out in August of 2023. He has also published four books in the Clay Wolfe Trap series, with the fifth, “Pirate Trap”, due out in December of 2023.
For historical novels, Cost has published “At Every Hazard” and its sequel, “Love in a Time of Hate”, as well as “I am Cuba”. In April of 2023, Cost will combine his love of histories and mysteries into a historical PI mystery set in 1923 Brooklyn, “Velma Gone Awry”.
Cost now lives in Brunswick, Maine, with his wife, Harper. There are four grown children: Brittany, Pearson, Miranda, and Ryan. A chocolate Lab and a basset hound round out the mix. He now spends his days at the computer, writing.
©2023 V Williams