by Geoff Habiger and Coy Kissee
Shadow Dragon Press

"'Maybe you should explain to Saul just what it is that we are dealing with here.'"

In the 1920s, Chicago is gripped in a gangland war between Al Capone and Bugs Moran. Of lesser concern to the city’s daily activity is Saul Imbierowicz, a young Jewish mail sorter who lives a modest, mundane life save for the smoking hot girlfriend he began seeing a week ago. The mysterious Moira flits in and out of Saul’s life without any warning, but Saul is always happy to see her. However, being in the wrong place at the wrong time leads to Moira being gunned down in the aftermath of the Valentine’s Day Massacre. Shortly afterward, Saul draws the attention of Moran, who sends goons to his apartment and forces him to steal evidence in federal agent possession in order to keep his parents and sister safe. Next, the federal agents strongarm Saul into helping them track down Moira, who miraculously and mysteriously is not dead after all, even with Saul watching her bleed out on the street.

Tugged in several different directions, Saul is caught in the middle of a feud between Capone and Moran while also being trapped between his loyalty and love for Moira and a plan to help the agents in order to protect his family. All is not as it seems with Moira, however, and an intense, intimate encounter with her leaves Saul with a wound on his belly that won’t heal and plenty of doubts and questions that seem to vanish into thin air whenever she’s around. Soon Saul falls head first into a supernatural arms race between Capone and Moran, struggling to keep his head on straight, protect his family, and not lose his job. The gruff federal agents who have been demanding and uncooperative with Saul may be his only hope. Saul’s decision on who to double-cross could leave the fate of the entire city of Chicago hanging in the balance.

Readers with an interest in suspense, historical drama, or supernatural fiction are sure to discover a story here that is unlike anything they’ve ever read before. Saul’s everyman qualities as both main character and narrator are fiercely endearing. Caught in a seemingly unwinnable scenario full of breakneck action, there is still plenty of time for him to muse on his overbearing mother or his inability to produce a decent cup of coffee in his modest apartment. Moira’s relationship with Saul is forever shifting from mysterious to cute; sensual to dangerous, and his fixation and fascination with her propel the story forward whenever the tension builds to a height. These human elements go a long way toward setting this book above its peers in the various subgenres that it occupies. The nosy neighbor who seems oblivious to the danger Saul constantly flirts with and the co-worker that comes dangerously close to prying into Saul’s business before being distracted by a pretty girl keep the story’s tone even—balancing action with levity.

Without getting too deep into the revelations that make the last quarter of the book a fast-paced thrill ride, the undercurrent of the paranormal in this story does as much to make it one-of-a-kind as the humanity of the cast. This book creates historical fiction with a pulse—and a crime drama that embraces the impossible—blending it all together into a truly well-balanced and entertaining read. Right away, it seems that Moira is too good to be true for Saul, but her reappearance after being gunned down in public firmly sets the reader’s mind in motion to expect the unexpected. Theories and guesses will be paid off in the story’s satisfying conclusion which wraps things up neatly but also lays the foundation for adventures to come in this exciting, living, fictional world.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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