“Blind Moon Alley” is set in 1931, prohibition-era, Philadelphia. Jersey Leo is an albino working as a bartender at a speakeasy called the Ink Well. Jersey’s working hard to support the Hy-Hat social club in Harlem, run by his father, and to keep himself off the bread lines. When his grade school friend, Aaron Garvey, calls from death row requesting Jersey to join him for his last dinner, Jersey wonders why Aaron picked him.
Aaron’s favor involves their grade school friend, Myra Banks, twenty thousand dollars, crooked cops, and the mob. Jersey’s not sure he can help his friend, but when Aaron escapes from prison and goes into hiding at the Ink Well, Jersey realizes he can’t say no. With help from his father, the champ Ernie Leo, and a few other friends they set out to help protect Aaron until they can get the money needed for him to leave the country.
In Jersey’s fight to help his friends and find the real truth about why Aaron killed a cop, he wants very much to do the right thing and be like the champ he admires. As Jersey becomes more involved, he questions himself, his honesty, and his integrity, eventually wondering how far he will go to save his friends.
This second Jersey Leo novel weaves just enough background into the story to orient the reader without bogging down the plot. The story is well-written and filled with unforeseen twists and turns. Descriptions of character and place, with language reminiscent of the 1930s, makes one feel as though they are right there with Jersey. This is a fun read for anyone who wants to take a peek back at the prohibition-era.
FTC Full Disclosure: A review copy of this book was provided by its publisher.