Leopold Borstinski: The Bowery Slugger

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for The Bowery Slugger, sharing an extract from the book. My post is presented with thanks to Emma Welton of damppebbles Blog Tours for inviting me on the blog tour and to the publisher for providing the extract.

Blurb:

A turn-of-the-century Jewish boy punches his way into the gangs of New York.When Alex Cohen arrives in 1915 America, he seizes the land of opportunity with both hands and grabs it by the throat. But success breeds distrust and Alex must choose between controlling his gang and keeping his friend alive. What would you do if the person you trusted most is setting you up to die at your enemies’ hands?The first book in the Alex Cohen series is a violent historical novel, which rips through the early years of the Jewish New York mob. Leopold Borstinski’s gripping crime noir beats at the chest of every reader with a bloody fist.

Extract:

Fabian gave up his table to the sheer volume of humans pressed into the first floor and considered getting drenched to find solace with Sarah. As he made his way through the assembled masses to the door, he detoured to the counter to settle up with Nathan.

After five long minutes, he got his elbows to lean on the wooden surface right next to the two Irishmen. They stood with their backs to the bar itself, arm in arm, singing and gesticulating with their free hands, while also holding their beer glasses.

Fabian accepted their jollity for what it was: a pair of drunks having fun on a damp Saturday afternoon. But while he waited to speak with Nathan, he noticed a few drops of brew landing on his shoulder. He understood this was an accidental spill, but he still wasn’t happy about getting wet while he was indoors. He took a deep breath and quietly, but assertively, held the nearest arm and told them to quieten down a little.

The one whose arm he had clasped, looked down at him, peering because his inebriated eyes found it hard to focus and also because the fellow had never heard anyone speak Yiddish before and had no clue what Fabian had said.

These two factors conspired poorly because the guy laughed and carried on his exuberant singing and swaying, causing Fabian the first real sense of annoyance. Hadn’t the fella heard him ask for space and for them to quieten down? Who did they think they were ignoring him like that?

Nathan spotted him waiting patiently and wended his way over.

“Want another, Fabian.”

“No thanks. Let’s just settle up. It’s too boisterous for me round here.”

“You and me both. Love getting the money in, but I need a rest. I’ve been pulling chugs of beer all day long.”

“Well, when you get the chance let me know how much I owe you.”

“Give me a minute. Usually it’s in my head but today’s plain crazy.”

As Nathan turned away to go to the cash register, Fabian felt an elbow slam into the small of his back, forcing him to stagger and his sternum to hit the counter. Thunk.

Fabian whipped round. The only culprit was the enormous Irishman swaying next to him. Everyone else was talking or queuing at the bar trying to get a drink. Anger overwhelmed him and he pushed the fella back.

“Watch what you’re doing. I’ve told you once already. Have your fun but don’t cross the line and push me around.”

The force sent the fella straight to the ground because he was none too steady on his feet before Fabian had lunged at him. His friend was not happy and squared off against Fabian. The rest of the world ignored the man on the floor—people got drunk and hit the dirt in a Bowery bar. That was normal. And two guys having a disagreement was also perfectly natural, so no-one even gave them the space to have a proper set-to.

Instead, Fabian did the only thing that felt natural to him at that moment. In that place. He pulled out a shiv and stabbed the guy in the stomach. Yanked the blade out and then plugged him again, this time slicing from left to right. The guy fell to his knees and then hit the floor. Fabian looked each way but no-one was paying any attention. He took out five dollars and signaled to Nathan he was leaving it on the bar. The locals knew not to touch Fabian’s money, and he left, placing the knife back in his pocket before he’d reached the door.

By the time he arrived at the Oregon, any blood had washed off his hands and out of his clothing. Sarah took one look at the bedraggled mess before her and dragged him upstairs to dry out. She didn’t understand why he cried so.

 

***

The Bowery Slugger is available from Amazon.

You can follow the rest of the blog tour here:

 

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