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TLU Pick: Jimmy the Stick, by Michael Mayo

This hardboiled mystery set in New York City mixes Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler styles with historical characters thrown in for good measure.


Do you like hard-hitting, hard-boiled fiction set in Prohibition-era New York City? How about stories where real life gangsters like Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky cross paths with the protagonist, à la Boardwalk Empire?

Then check out Jimmy the Stick — it’s a killer debut from Michael Mayo.

Jimmy is a bootlegger who used to run errands for mob bigwigs like Arnold Rothstein, until he got shot in the leg and was forced to take up a cane (hence the “stick” of the title). The book finds him protecting a friend’s family in New Jersey, where anyone with money and a baby is worried they’ll be the next target of the kidnappers who took the Lindbergh baby. And of course, his criminal past catches up with him.

Mayo has a fantastic ability to weave fact and fiction into a ripping narrative. Jimmy is a smart guy with a fast mouth and a habit for getting himself in trouble.

Familiar territory if you’re into this genre, sure, but Mayo writes the tropes like a pro, and the book was praised by Crime Fiction Lover for shades of Hammett and Chandler.

Download the ebook at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes. Mayo’s follow up title, Everybody Goes to Jimmy’s, is available this month.


Rob Hart is the associate publisher for MYSTERIOUSPRESS.COM and the class director at LitReactor. He’s the author of The Last Safe Place: A Zombie Novella, and his short stories have appeared in publications like Thuglit, Needle, and Helix Literary Magazine. His debut novel, New Yorked, will be released in June 2015. You can find his website at ROBWHART.COM.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons; Courtesy of Open Road Media