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The Gangster
Cover of The Gangster
The Gangster
Isaac Bell Series, Book 9
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Turn-of-the-century Detective Isaac Bell takes on the upstart leader of a vicious crime organization in this novel in the #1 New York Times–bestselling series.

It is 1906, and in New York City, the Italian crime group known as the Black Hand is on a spree: kidnapping, extortion, arson. They like to take the oldest tricks and add dynamite. When a coalition of the Black Hand's victims hire out the Van Dorn agency to protect their businesses, their reputations, and their families, Detective Isaac Bell forms a crack squad and begins scouring the city for clues. And then he spots a familiar face.
The stakes grow ever-higher, with the Black Hand becoming more ambitious, and their targets more political. If Bell can't determine the role played by the face from his past, the next life lost could be one of the most powerful men in the nation.
Turn-of-the-century Detective Isaac Bell takes on the upstart leader of a vicious crime organization in this novel in the #1 New York Times–bestselling series.

It is 1906, and in New York City, the Italian crime group known as the Black Hand is on a spree: kidnapping, extortion, arson. They like to take the oldest tricks and add dynamite. When a coalition of the Black Hand's victims hire out the Van Dorn agency to protect their businesses, their reputations, and their families, Detective Isaac Bell forms a crack squad and begins scouring the city for clues. And then he spots a familiar face.
The stakes grow ever-higher, with the Black Hand becoming more ambitious, and their targets more political. If Bell can't determine the role played by the face from his past, the next life lost could be one of the most powerful men in the nation.
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  • From the book 1
    Little Sicily, New York City
    Elizabeth Street between Prince and Houston
    "The Black Hand Block"


    The Black Hand locked twelve-year Maria Vella in a pigeon coop on the roof of an Elizabeth Street tenement. They untied the gag so she wouldn't suffocate. Not even a building contractor as rich as her father would ransom a dead girl, they laughed. But if she screamed, they said, they would beat her. A vicious jerk of one of her glossy braids brought tears to her eyes.
    She tried to slow her pounding heart by concentrating on the calmness of the birds. The pigeons murmured softly among themselves, oblivious to the racket from the slum, undisturbed by a thousand shouts, a piping street organ, and the thump and whirr of sewing machines. She could see through a wall of wooden slats that admitted light and air that the coop stood beside the high parapet that rimmed the roof. Was there someone who would help her on the other side? She whispered Hail Marys to build her courage.
    " . . . Santa Maria, Madre di Dio,
    prega per noi peccatori,
    adesso e nell'ora della nostra morte."
    Coaxing a bird out of her way, she climbed up on its nesting box, and up onto another until she glimpsed a tenement across the street draped with laundry. Climbing higher, pressing her head to the ceiling, she could see all the way down to a stretch of sidewalk four stories below. It was jammed with immigrants. Peddlers, street urchins, women shopping, not one of them could help her. They were Sicilians, transplanted workers and peasants, poor as dirt, and as frightened of the authorities as she was of her kidnappers.
    She clung to the comforting sight of people going about their lives, a housewife carrying a chicken from the butcher, workmen drinking wine and beer on the steps of the Kips Bay Saloon. A Branco Grocery wagon clattered by, painted gleaming red and green enamel with the owner's name in gold leaf. Antonio Branco had hired her father's business to excavate a cellar for his warehouse on Prince Street. So near, so far, the wagon squeezed past the push carts and out of sight.
    Suddenly the people scattered. A helmeted, blue-coated, brass-buttoned Irish policeman lumbered into view. He was gripping a baton and Maria's hopes soared. But if she screamed through the wooden slats, would anyone hear before the kidnappers burst in and beat her? She lost her courage. The policeman passed. The immigrants pressed back into the space he had filled.
    A tall man glided from the Kips Bay Saloon.
    Lean as a whip, he wore workman's garb, a shabby coat and a flat cap. He glanced across the street and up the tenement. His gaze fixed on the parapet. For a second she thought he was looking at her, straight into her eyes. But how could he know she was locked inside the coop? He swept his hat off his head as if signaling someone. At that moment, the sun cleared a rooftop and a shaft of light struck his crown of golden hair.
    He stepped into the street and disappeared from view.

    ***

    The thick-necked Sicilian stationed just inside the front door blocked the tenement hall. A blackjack flew at his face. He sidestepped it, straight into the path of a fist in his gut that doubled him over in silent anguish. The blackjack, a leather sack of lead shot, smacked the bone behind his ear and he dropped to the floor.
    At the top of four flights of dark, narrow stairs, another Sicilian guarded the ladder to the roof. He pawed a pistol from his belt. A blade flickered. He froze in open-mouthed pain and...
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 1, 2016
    Set in 1906, bestseller Cussler’s thrilling ninth Isaac Bell adventure (after 2015’s The Assassin, also coauthored with Scott) pits Bell, an operative in the Van Dorn Detective Agency, against Antonio Branco, who’s outwardly a respectable New York City businessman but is in fact a ruthless crime boss. Branco is willing to bribe and murder to enhance his profits, and he does both to land a contract to “provision the biggest construction job in America.” Bell has his hands full working to thwart the Black Hand in New York City, a gang that exploits poor Italians and rich alike, and which benefits from the inadequate resources of the NYPD. But he gets even busier when he learns that a member of a “secret tycoon club,” who fears Teddy Roosevelt will learn that he illegally profited from the Panama Canal Treaty, wants the president dead. The fascinating and suspenseful plot compensates for thin characterizations. Agent: Peter Lampack, Peter Lampack Agency.

  • Library Journal

    November 1, 2015
    Isaac Bell is back in his ninth outing, and since his previous adventures have all been top-five "New York Times" best sellers, expect big interest. In 1906 New York City, he faces the Italian crime group known as the Black Hand.

    Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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The Gangster
The Gangster
Isaac Bell Series, Book 9
Clive Cussler
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