E.R. Fallon's thrilling "The Trouble Boys" is a brilliant and excellent example of the grim and stark realities of immigrants integrating into 1930's seedy New York. Brutal, gritty, hard hitting and quite revealing at times, I enjoyed every minute reading this gripping historical crime novel.
The story opens in 1935, when eight year old Irish immigrant Colin O'Brien settles with his family in New York City where he befriends a Cuban-American boy Johnny Garcia. As the years pass, a shocking turn of events alters Colin's life. As Johnny and Colin become men, their ethnicity and life around them, affects their friendship. They start working for rival crime syndicates - Colin joins an Irish mob and Johnny becomes part of a Cuban gang. As their friendship deteriorates and Colin rapidly rises through the ranks of organised crime the demands on him become ever more brutal and he begins to question the destructive yet violent world he's found himself in.
I loved reading how Colin adapted to life and a completely new environment in New York City as an innocent and young child and my heart really went out to him, reading what he went through just to survive and to defend himself or his family.
I totally felt like I was transported there, the author did a grand job of describing the noises, buildings and people where Colin lived, the sounds and raised voices coming from the apartments were just typical of what I imagined life to be like, living in those conditions. As the story began again in the 1950's - following a life changing event for Colin - it was interesting to see how Johnny's and Colin's friendship had changed. I liked both characters and it was sad how circumstances caused the rift in their relationship. The storyline strongly shows the loyalty to 'blood' versus love for one's family and friends and the divisions it creates.
I'd easily read more work by Irish/American author E.R.Fallon who has clearly used her own extensive knowledge of the gritty streets of NYC - her writing is so easy to follow, it's not heavy or dull and everything is described with clarity. She also creates fabulous characters that are believable and very likeable and her plot line in the story was second to none - creative, entertaining, emotional and very compelling.
A highly enjoyable book that I absolutely loved and oh that ending!!.......I'm saying no more. Truly brilliant!
5 well deserved stars.