Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Review: "The Starlight Club" by Joe Corso

Happy Wednesday, spring beans!

We're happy to host Joe Corso and his fantastic True-Crime/Mob novel "The Starlight Club".

This is an impressive author with an impressive story. Definitely. DEFINITELY worth a look.

Displaying starlightclub.jpg

Book cover and blurb
Displaying Cover to use.jpgTitle: The Starlight Club
Author: Joe Corso
Genre: Crime
The Starlight Club was jumping . . .

“They looked like mob guys. They had that arrogance exuded by those who liked to intimidate – those who were the proud purveyors of fear.” Amidst the nightly gaiety was the back room, where business deals were made, hits were ordered, and territories were divided. An image of the author is also attached.

Trenchie not being a “rat” is just released from his ten year prison sentence. A new life is waiting – complete with envelopes of money and a steak house to call his own. He finds the woman of his dreams who brings along ex-husband baggage. Hit man Jimmy The Hat finds unexpected fame in the most unlikely of places, yet he always stays true to the “boys”, especially Big Red. “Crazy Joey Gallo” and his brothers break away from the Profaci family and go “rogue, on their own now. They split their gang into several small groups and spread them out over the five boroughs.”

Author Bio

Displaying Joe Corso.jpgMove to Florida, see the world, and…. Write 15 novels!? It may have started out as the typical retirement, but author Joe Corso decided to take a more adventurous route. After a successful, yet tearful, career as a fireman, Corso began writing as a way to fund the Ivy League educations of his grandchildren.  He published his first book at 75, and since has written 14 novels and 9 short stories.

One of his most popular novels, The Starlight Club, won the 2012 eLit True Crime category, and an honorable mention in the 2013 reader’s favorite book contest.  FIRE: Box 598, a collection of short nonfiction stories of fires and occurrences surrounding them when he worked with the FDNY, won the 2013 Reader’s Favorite contest in the Historical non-fiction category. With cross-genre skills, Corso has written Westerns, Gritty Crime Dramas and even fantasy. He has received a tremendous reception from his work “Fire Stories” by many Fire Departments. Rising from the ashes, retired New York Firefighter Joe Corso finds himself lost in his writing hoping never to find his way back.



To preface my review, I have to say that I was raised in a little tourist town with mob history. A lot of it. In fact, that little town in the middle of the mountains once used to be called "Little Vegas", and this history is one of the biggest tourist draws to our little town. Mobsters in a southern town. Now that's curious.  I grew up knowing all about the downtown hotels that hosted illegal gambling, the favorite bar that used to be a famous brothel, the houses run by the mob with secret escapes out onto the lakes, the famous people that visited and stayed where and did what... all once upon a time. A long time ago.

All of the stories I grew up with were romantic. Sure, there was crime....but it was illegal gambling and drinking and paying politicians off to allow that stuff. No vicious murders, no masacres.

So imagine my surprise as I grew up and got a hold of some historical works about what these mobsters were up to in the big cities.

Now for the review. 

It's been a long time since I've read a mob-centered work. Mostly because the violence is usually a little too much for me to handle. But when "Starlight Club" came across my e-Desk I couldn't resist.

I'm glad I didn't say "No".

Violent? Yes. If you're squeemy, then read with caution. But there's more to this work than the violence, the murder, and the crime. The author does a fantastic job of introducing these characters as human beings. You don't want to believe anyone capable of that kind of violence/heartlessness is actually a real person. But that same guy who can shoot a man dead one second turns right around to show love, loyalty, and even compassion in the next.

The story takes place in the 1960's around a main group of characters that are historically fictional, Big Red, Trenchie, and Jimmy the Hat. However, there are a few characters that lurk through that are recognizable and add a bit of "Woah" to the story. Fiction? True Crime? You find yourself trying to decipher the story-telling from the possible real life events.

"Bobby" Valentine is our narrator, the book a story of memories past. Some of the memories are pretty normal. Love, friendship, family. Unfortunately, with the mob, it's never that simple. Truly it's a memoir recalled in old age of all of the crazy, unbelievable, outrageous things that he and the people he'd known did and lived through.

This more modern historical fiction presents to us the idea that, in this case, Crime really is just a business and there are two hats to wear. Hat # 1 = Heartless Crimelord. Hat #2 = Family man/ Good guy/ Brother/ Best Friend/ Father/ Husband/ Lover.  At the end of the day, when the killing is done, hang up Hat #1 and relax.

You start to hate how likeable some of the characters become. You want to say "Killing is bad. Crime is bad and if you do these things That makes you a bad  and evil person. Bad and evil people can't love, can't do nice things, and are insincere and untrustworthy." But it doesn't stay that black and white in "The Starlight Club", and the reader may find themselves questioning their reactions to the story.

Gripping, action-packed, and entertaining. Anyone interested in true-crime, mob-crime, or anything inbetween is going to enjoy this first book in a series I hope to be able to read the rest of.

Bravo, Joe Corso. I look forward to reading more.


Until Next Blog,

Read On! 

1 comment:

  1. Love your writing and insights. Plus, your site is so calming.

    .... but would you believe the characters and circumstances are real, and the names were just changed? He will be so so happy you enjoyed his work <3

    I've heard the substories a dozen times as individuals over time and when he finally got a copy, I was like, wait, this is.. and he's, and wow, I knew about that but he did - ?!? Luckily they are all dead now hehehe