Alex Cohen #2
Alex lived through the war, but will he survive the peace?
Jewish gang member, Alex comes back from the Great War almost destroyed by the horrors he has seen. When he is plucked from certain death by an old friend, he commits to making so much money he’ll never know that agony again.
But the route to the top is fraught with danger and every time he helps one of his powerful friends like Al Capone, he acquires more enemies who want to see him dead. When organised crime financier, Arnold Rothstein dies, the turmoil caused by his loss sets in train a chain of events which means Alex must once more fight for his life. How far would you go to attain your American dream?
The second book in the Alex Cohen series is a violent historical novel, which tears through the Prohibition years of the Jewish New York mob. Leopold Borstinski’s gripping crime noir pierces the heart of every reader like a bullet from Alex’s sniper rifle.
They stopped when they arrived at Marvyn’s tenement and almost without thinking, he invited Alex inside. By the time they reached the fifth floor Alex was out of breath. He might be on the mend but he had not yet fully recovered. He rested, leaning on a wall, as Marvyn brought him a glass of water.
“Do you think I could sit down for a short while?”
Marvyn led him inside and he slumped onto a dining room chair. While he regained his composure, Alex used the time to look around. The place was the usual mix of cheap furniture and screaming children, who were old enough to sew but still too young to keep quiet in the evening when adults were talking.
Near the kitchen door stood his wife, one baby clasped to her hip, peering round the doorway at the stranger in her home. He smiled and walked over to make a fuss of the little ’un in her arms.
“You haven’t introduced us, Marvyn. I’m Alex—and you are…?”
”…Rachel, and this is Samuel.”
Without a word, Alex reached his arms out and Rachel placed Samuel in his care. Alex bounced the boy up and down until he gurgled playfully. Within two minutes he’d put the babe down. Samuel was too young to scuttle off by himself and remained on the floorboards where Alex had rested him.
He shoved his hands in his pants pockets and looked embarrassed to be surrounded by such an adorable family. An instant later, he pulled out a shiv, grabbed Rachel by the wrist and planted an arm around her torso. The blade stood ready, an inch away from her throat.
“Now I have your attention, Marvyn, it’s time for you to hear my terms.”
“You misunderstood how this all works. As you can see, I hold your family’s life in my hands and you thought you should shake me down for fifty bucks a month.”
Marvyn’s eyes darted from Alex to Rachel and back again. He gulped hard but remained silent.
“So this is what we will do. You send everyone to return to work tomorrow. As a sign of appreciation I will not kill your wife or your children.”
Marvyn swallowed again and licked his lips while Rachel carried on whimpering. Alex stared straight at Marvyn.
“If you do this for me, I shall ensure that Clinemann gets the machines repaired and I will look to getting your members a better rate of pay. I am sure
he will see reason. But that is all that will happen. Your workers’ lives will be improved because you have told me that is important to you.”
To emphasize his point, Alex pushed his blade close to Rachel’s throat, all the while staring at Marvyn.
“The only outstanding matter is that your family is clearly not safe; look at what you have allowed to happen here.”
A tear rolled out of Marvyn’s eye and he rubbed it away.
“You must get some insurance to protect yourself.”
“Yes, you will need to pay me to ensure your family stays safe. How you secure the fee is up to you. Pay it from your own pocket or raise your members’ dues. I don’t care. If you don’t settle with me, harm will inevitably befall your kin. Give me my money and they live to a ripe old age. The choice is yours.”
Marvyn nodded consent and Alex relaxed his grip on Rachel who felt as though she was about to crumple onto the floor. The knife remained by her throat because Alex couldn’t be certain Marvyn wouldn’t try something stupid. The pathetic lump of humanity before him showed no signs of being dangerous, but Alex knew how quickly calm situations can turn into bloody mayhem—in France or in the Lower East Side.
Alex lowered his knife hand and kept his other on Rachel in case of need.
“Stay where you are and I shall let go of her. Do you understand?”
A nod from Marvyn and yet another whimper from his wife. All the time, the kids were playing or simply gurgling on the floor as though everything was completely normal. They ignored the adult world this evening as they did any other night.
Twenty seconds later and Rachel grabbed their youngest in her arms and hustled the children into the bedroom where they remained, door shut.
“I shall leave you to decide what is an appropriate amount to pay each month to keep your family from harm. Naturally, if the sum ever falls short of what is needed…”
“…then you’ll hurt them.”
“You understand completely. Make the first instalment tomorrow morning. You’ll find me at the Mercury. You can provide the second payment six weeks later and monthly thereafter without fail.”
Alex called goodbye to Rachel, but all he achieved was to make her cry again. He shrugged and left the Beck apartment.
Thank you, Leopold Borstinski: and Damppebbles Blog Tours
About the author
Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.
There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.
He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/borstinski @borstinski