Blind Moon Alley
A Jersey Leo Mystery by John Florio
Review: Mixed race twenty six-year-old albino Jersey Leo has chalk white skin, kinky yellow hair and fluttering green eyes. He lives and works at a bar called the Ink-Well, a speakeasy in Philadelphia. It is cozy and dark, one of the few places an albino can call home. He sends most of his pay check to his father, Ernie Leo, in New York. Ernie, an ex-boxing champ, has started a kid's club in Harlem and the money is to help pay the rent to keep it open. When he was a boy in school Jersey was called "Snowball" in jest by his few friends, but most called him "Snowball" to harass and humiliate him. One of those friends, Aaron Garvey, would "take on" any and all abusers who tried to hurt Jersey. Now years later Garvey is awaiting execution for killing a cop, when he escapes from prison and seeks out Jersey for help, in Blind Moon Alley, the second mystery in this series by John Florio.
How many people get the chance to save a friend who had fought for them as kids? There is a difference now, and he is sure his friend Garvey realizes it. At Elementary School Four Garvey was fending off a bunch of wised-cracking sixth graders. Jersey is about to take on a group of the city's bloodthirsty, law-bending cops. The crooked cops, especially Reeger, the partner of the cop Garvin had killed, knowing Garvey would seek out Jersey for help, has kept a close eye on the Ink Well. With the help of his buddies there, Snowball — his dad told him that there are times when you just don't outgrow a nickname — is able to find a hiding place for Garvey. But Garvey is out to get Reeger so goes out on his own to find him. It is a "hide and seek" adult game that could end up jeopardizing the well-being of those who work in the Ink Well as well as their families.
Set during Prohibition, Blind Moon Alley has a good sense of time and place in a story that seems to fit in with one's perception — and maybe the reality — of Philadelphia at that time: gritty and rough around the edges. The characters, especially Jersey Leo and his buddies at the Ink Well and his school crush Myra Banks, are well drawn and engaging. The storyline starts off slow, but by the mid-point has really captured the reader's attention; the plot twists are unexpected and, quite frankly, welcome in what seemed at first to be a straight-forward tale. On balance, a solid follow-up to the very good first in this series, a mystery that will have readers looking forward to what happens next for Jersey Leo.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Blind Moon Alley.
Acknowledgment: Seventh Street Books provided a copy of Blind Moon Alley for this review.
Review Copyright © 2014 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Sugar Pop Moon
Seventh Street Books (Trade Paperback), July 2013
ISBN-13: 9781616147952; ISBN-10: 1616147954
Location(s) referenced in Blind Moon Alley: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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Blind Moon Alley by John Florio — A Jersey Leo Mystery
Publisher: Seventh Street Books
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: August 2014
List Price: $15.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
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