BY SHERILYN DECTERPublication Date: February 21, 2019
eBook & Paperback; 339 Pages
Series: Bootleggers’ Chronicles Series, Book One
Genre: Historical Fiction/Crime/Women’s Fiction
In a city of bootleggers and crime, one woman must rely on a long-dead lawman to hunt down justice…
Philadelphia, 1924. Maggie Barnes doesn’t have much left. After the death of her husband, she finds herself all alone to care for her young son and look after their rundown house. As if that weren’t bad enough, Prohibition has turned her neighborhood into a bootlegger’s playground. To keep the shoddy roof over their heads, she has no choice but to take on boarders with questionable ties…
When her son’s friend disappears, Maggie suspects the worst. And local politicians and police don’t seem to have any interest in an investigation. With a child’s life on the line, Maggie takes the case and risks angering the enemy living right under her nose…
Maggie’s one advantage may be her new found friend: the ghost of a Victorian-era cop. With his help, can she find justice in a lawless city?
Innocence Lost is the first novel in the Bootleggers’ Chronicles, a series of historical fiction tales. If you like headstrong heroines, Prohibition-era criminal underworlds, and just a touch of the paranormal, then you’ll love Sherilyn Decter’s gripping tale.
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In 1924 Philadelphia, the city is run by bootleggers. The gangs that supply the alcohol run the city, controlling the money and most of the police force and Mickey Duffy is one of the bosses that controls it all. On the night of a raid of one of Duffy's warehouses, three young boys are caught in the action. One boy, Oskar, never made it home. Oskar is friends with Tommy Barnes, Tommy's mom, Maggie runs a boarding house in order to make ends meet. When Maggie finds out that it is Tommy's friend that has disappeared, she becomes more involved in the community and sees the toll that bootlegging has taken. Maggie is determined to find out what happened to Oskar, but has no idea where to start. Maggie gets a helping hand from an unusual source, a retired Police Inspector from another era coaches Maggie to help her bring down the criminals hiding right beneath her nose.
Innocence Lost is a unique murder mystery set within Prohibition era Philadelphia. It took me a while to get into the story while the scene was being set, but once Maggie and Tommy's characters were introduced, I felt connected to the story. Maggie's character transforms throughout the story from a woman who feels powerless to control her surroundings while feeling like she does not fit in with many of her immigrant neighbors to a woman who is actively fighting crime and caring for her neighbors. The integration of Inspector Geyer was very interesting. His presence as a ghost fit in seamlessly and helped Maggie immensely, but I did wonder a lot about his background and how he found his way to Maggie. The Prohibition era was highlighted in the storytelling as well; I had never thought of the many reasons why so many men easily fell into bootlegging after World War I and how women embraced the freedoms of the era after taking up the men's jobs while they were away. While Maggie lends a large hand in avenging Oskar's death, there is still a lot of work to be done in keeping her city safe. I'd love to see what she can accomplish next.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
Sherilyn Decter is a writer, researcher, and lover of historical fiction. Her work is set in the Roaring Twenties and if you like feisty and determined heroines, complex cover-ups, Prohibition stories about criminal underworlds, police and political corruption, then you’re going to love Sherilyn’s grand gangster tales.
For more information, please visit Sherilyn Decter’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads and Pinterest.