Tom & Lucky and George & Cokey Flo
The beginning of this novel about syndicated crime groups reads like every other Mafia story. Charles Lucky Luciano rises to power by winnowing the field of all competitive leaders who eliminate rivals or traitors. However, Luciano is relatively respected because he is one of the first mob bosses to allow a certain amount of autonomy to those who report to him. Gambling and prostitution both flourish, but the government and FBI have turned away from their previous “hands-off” policy. Tom is Prosecutor Tom Dewey, who has his eye on becoming Governor and eventually President of the United States, and he becomes Luciano’s nemesis. George Morton Levy is the man who will become Luciano’s defense attorney in a trial which is alleging 558 separate criminal charges against not-so-lucky Luciano. Cokey Flo is a madam who first tries to run a house of prostitution independently from the Mafia and then becomes the favorite “girl” of one of its top leaders. Her drug problem is her own worst enemy and eventually may become Lucky’s as well. Sounds familiar so far, correct? Warning: this is not your usual two-bit crime thriller.
A trial is presented that will shock any reader with a brain with its challenges, travesties, illegalities – all shocking beyond measure. The mind of the reader spins with questions and horrific reactions at how “justice” and its questionable scales are stretched beyond imagination. It’s said that the job of a lawyer is to get the job done. The job does get done, but oh what a tangled web is woven in the process. Highly recommended historical fiction! You won’t ever forget this novel.