“In 1886 New York, a respectable architect shouldn’t have any connection to the notorious gang of thieves and killers that rules the underbelly of the city. But when John Cross’s son racks up an unfathomable gambling debt to Kent’s Gents, Cross must pay it back himself. All he has to do is use his inside knowledge of high society mansions and museums to craft a robbery even the smartest detectives won’t solve. The take better include some cash too —the bigger the payout, the faster this will be over.
With a newfound talent for sniffing out vulnerable and lucrative targets, Cross becomes invaluable to the gang. But Cross’s entire life has become a balancing act, and it will only take one mistake for it all to come crashing down —and for his family to go down too.”
Mr. Belfoure’s sophomore novel is not as exciting or intense as his first novel but it remains an interesting glimpse into the past. This time, readers get an inside look at Victorian-era New York with its severely divided class lines of the haves and the have-nots. John Cross’ dilemma of saving his son at the risk of his own life seems drastic, and the story’s resolution is not only predictable but downright silly. In spite of all that, it is an engaging story, even if one cannot take it too seriously. While it romanticizes the criminal element and all but criminalizes polite society, at the same time it provides readers with a clear understanding of the stifling protocol of the Gilded Age. Enjoyable but far from life-altering, Mr. Belfoure’s novel is a decent second novel even though it is missing some of the gravitas and suspense which made his first novel such a success.