Thursday, July 11, 2013

Heaven Knows, Anything Goes

Published:  November 8th, 2012
Sirens (Faithful # 3)
By: Janet Fox
ISBN-13:  9780142424308

When Jo Winter’s parents send her off to live with her rich cousin on the glittering island of Manhattan, it’s to find a husband and forget about her brother Teddy’s death. But all that glitters is not gold.. 

Caught up in the swirl of her cousin’s bobbed-hair set—and the men that court them— Jo soon realizes that the talk of marriage never stops, and behind the seemingly boundless gains are illicit business endeavors, gangsters, and their molls. Jo would much rather spend time the handsome but quiet Charles, a waiter at the Algonquin Hotel, than drape herself over a bootlegger. But when she befriends a moll to one of the most powerful men in town, Jo begins to uncover secrets—secrets that threaten an empire and could secure Jo’s freedom from her family. 

Can her newfound power buy her love? Or will it ruin Jo, and everyone around her?


     Jo Winter is still getting over her brother Teddy's sudden death, when her parents decide to ship her off to New York to live with her rich relatives.  All she wants is to finish high school, go to college and become a working woman - do something exciting with her life.  Jo definitely isn't ready for a husband, which is supposedly the reason her parents send her to her cousin Melody (a notorious flapper).  In reality it's to remove her from danger, because the famous gangster Danny Connor has been causing trouble for her bootlegger Father.  And it's all got something to do with Teddy...  Befriending Louise 'Lou' O'Keefe, Danny's Irish girlfriend, is either the smartest or dumbest move Jo could make.  A jealous gangster's moll is nothing to take lightly.  When she discovers Teddy's journal, the mystery behind his 'death' really begins to unfold, as she solves clues to find missing pages.  Danny Connor would do anything to get his hands on that journal as it holds some of his most closely guarded secrets.  Even committing deadly acts that Jo might never get the chance to escape from.  Can she make it out of a harsh new life of crime, booze and partying alive, or will becoming a flapper be the end of Jo?
     I expected this to be something like the Bright Young Things series by Anna Godberson - of which I am not a fan.  I was hoping for something like the Flapper series by Jillian Larkin.  What I got was neither of those things - it was book entirely it's own, shiny new take on the 1920's Prohibition, organized crime and partying phenomenon.   This was a book about a girl who actually doesn't care about being a flapper, as much as she'd like to be an independent career girl.  Also the one flapper we really get to know, her cousin Melody, has a tragic backstory of her own.  She is really only going through the motions and has something that matters more to her than partying ever could - even if she is disillusioned by life.  I liked that it went back and forth between Jo's point of view and Lou's.  They were two completely different women and it was definitely interesting to see the obvious discrepancies in the way they view the world.  Being Irish and poor in America in the early 1900's forced Lou to fend for herself or find someone to take care of her - she chose the latter, and went with Danny Connor.  Jo, from a very different background, is also learning that same lesson throughout the novel, but she chooses to fend for herself.
     Along with the romance and partying in this book, came a murder mystery.  The death of Jo's brother Teddy also was linked with a real-life political bombing that Fox used to very good affect.  Probably the major issue that I had with this book it the absolutely stupid way that Jo's parents chose to try and 'protect' her.  She gets sent to New York, and everyone is told where she's going!  Yeah, that's gonna make it hard to find her for reals Mr. and Mrs. Winter!  Also, her brother was perfect in her imaginings and remembrances.  I would have preferred to have REAL moments between them.  Especially from after Teddy returned from WWI.  He was most likely suffering from some form of shell-shock (PTSD) like many soldiers were and that kind of thing utterly fucks you up.  And if a guy goes to work for a known mobster and also gets involved what is basically a terrorist political group, he's far from some perfect knight in shining armor!  The way the actions builds toward the ending was fast-paced, but extremely cliched and I was rolling my eyes throughout.  I would have liked to have seen more about Melody.  Frankly, it might have been a better book that made tons more sense if it had been about her instead of Jo.  That said, I did enjoy it even if it's not a favorite or the best book ever.  I especially enjoyed the detailed descriptions of NY in the 1920's.  Fox has a serious gift with words.  I am going to be going back and reading the first two for sure.  Overall a good read, and if you like mysteries and 1920's settings, you should try it out.

VERDICT:  3.5/5  Stars

**No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book is now available in stores, online, or maybe even at your local library.**

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