cover image The Syndicate

The Syndicate

Guy Bolton. Point Blank, $25.95 (400p) ISBN 978-1-78607-431-7

Set in 1947, Bolton’s gripping sequel to 2017’s The Pictures finds former LAPD detective Jonathan Craine living in retirement with his 16-year-old son, Michael, in rural Bridgeport, Calif. There, gangster Meyer Lansky’s thugs pay them a call and do serious harm to Michael with a knife. The goons fly Craine to Las Vegas, Nev., where Lansky orders him to find Bugsy Siegel’s killer within five days or his son will die. Abe Levine accompanies Craine to Los Angeles, where Siegel was recently shot dead, as his minder, guard, and connection to the local mob. Abe won’t let Craine use his police contacts or talk to the FBI, so he must rely on a newly met crime reporter and old acquaintances in the movie industry, like Louis B. Mayer. Bolton perfectly captures the era, with cameos by debauched Hollywood stars, rampant chauvinism and racism, and hearings by the House Un-American Activities Committee. Craine’s fear, exhaustion, and desperation are palpable as one lead after another turns to a dead end. This top-notch thriller doesn’t pause from beginning to end. Agent: Anna Power, Johnson & Alcock (U.K.). (Feb.)