Genre: Cozy Mystery/ Historical Fiction
Rating: 5 Guitars
During Prohibition, Galveston Island was called the "Free State of Galveston" due to its lax laws and laissez-faire attitude toward gambling, gals and bootlegging. Young society reporter Jasmine (Jazz) Cross longs to cover hard news, but she's stuck between two clashing cultures: the world of gossip and glamour vs. gangsters and gamblers.
After Downtown Gang leader Johnny Jack Nounes is released from jail, all hell breaks loose: Prohibition Agent James Burton’s life is threatened and he must go into hiding for his own safety. But when he’s framed for murder, he and Jazz work together to prove his innocence. Johnny Jack blames her half-brother Sammy Cook, owner of the Oasis speakeasy, for his arrest and forces him to work overtime in a variety of dangerous mob jobs as punishment.
When a bookie is murdered, Jazz looks for clues linking the two murders and delves deeper into the underworld of gambling: poker games, slot machines and horse-racing. Meanwhile, Jazz tries to keep both Burton and her brother safe, and alive, while they face off against each other, as well as a common enemy. A soft-boiled mystery inspired by actual events.
Why It Rocked
This is the third installment of the Jazz Age Mysteries. Since each book involves its own mystery, they can each stand alone. However, you might enjoy them more if you pickup book one, Flappers Flasks and Foul Play, book two, Bathing Beauties, Bootleggers and Bullets. These books explore a very unique time in American History, the days when alcohol was prohibited. This gave rise to gangsters and all sorts of illegal activity and these books follow a society reporter on the hunt for a good story and the Federal agent tasked with enforcing Prohibition.
I think this is the best one yet. Lots of action, higher stakes and even more romance (which I love). This starts with an attempted murder and then turns into a murder investigation and then things really get out of control. Some questions from the first two books get answered and resolved. I love all the Jazz Age references and found this to be a great mystery read.
Ellen Mansoor Collier is a Houston-based freelance magazine writer and editor whose articles, essays and short stories have been published in a variety of national magazines. During college summers, she worked as a reporter (intern) for a Houston community newspaper and as a cocktail waitress, both jobs providing background experience for her Jazz Age mysteries.
A flapper at heart, she's worked as a magazine editor/writer, and in advertising and public relations (plus endured a hectic semester as a substitute teacher). She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Magazine Journalism and served on UTmost, the college magazine, and was active in WICI (Women in Communications), acting as president her senior year.
Flappers, Flasks and Foul Play is her first novel, published in 2012, followed by the sequel, Bathing Beauties, Booze and Bullets, released in May 2013. Gold Diggers, Gamblers and Guns is the last novel in her Jazz Age Mystery series, published in May, 2014. She lives in Houston with her husband and Chow mutts, and visits Galveston whenever possible.
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