The Syndicate

Oneworld Pubs. Feb. 2019. 400p. ISBN 9781786074317. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9781786074324. M
Picking up several years after the events of The Pictures, Bolton's latest has former Hollywood fixer Jonathan Craine living a quiet life with his son on a farm, when he's violently jerked back into the Tinseltown underworld. Representatives of Meyer Lansky give him five days to discover who murdered Bugsy Siegel. If he doesn't come through, they'll kill his son. Craine, who doesn't consider himself much of a detective, works with a female crime reporter and one of Lansky's hit men to investigate. Bolton makes great use of the post-World War II setting, with J. Edgar Hoover's FBI, the House Un-American Activities Committee, and stars such as George Raft, Spencer Tracy, and Judy Garland making cameos. Aside from Louis B. Mayer, whose role could be considered as more involved, the focus is on the era's mafia scene, particularly surrounding Siegel's infamous Flamingo Hotel and Casino. While there are returning characters, it's not necessary to have read the first book to enjoy this take on a famous unsolved crime.
VERDICT For readers seeking a violent historical mystery with an organized crime element.
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