Miami in the 1920’s . . . a teeming cauldron of giddy opportunity, swaggering gangsters, shady real estate sharks, crooked cops, and glamorous movie stars. In other words . . . the perfect spot for ex-bootlegger Frank Hearn to start a new life on the up-and-up.
“Irby proves himself a master wordsmith as he throws all elements into an already teeming pot and waits for it to boil.” —Library Journal
Returning to the boisterous, colorful world he created in his critically acclaimed crime novel, 7,000 Clams, Lee Irby opens a unique and exhilarating window on the Roaring Twenties. Charming yet ill-fated Frank Hearn is ready to leave behind his high-stakes lifestyle and finally stake his claim in the world—and no place promises a quicker route to the good life than Miami. With suckers aplenty looking for land in the Sunshine State, Frank and his partner, the well-connected son of a former mayor, plan to make a killing in the real estate biz. The first thing on Frank’s agenda, however, is repaying a loan from Seddon Howard, the father of his very classy fiancée, Irene. A bet on a fixed jai alai match puts the cash in his pocket—as well as a vengeful gambling kingpin hot on his trail.
When a close acquaintance of Frank’s is discovered murdered the next day, his well-intentioned plan quickly turns upside-down and he is accused of the crime. Adding to his troubles, a federal investigator is digging into his real estate transactions, while a desperate outlaw takes him on a suicide mission into the Everglades to look for a stash of buried cash. To further complicate matters, Irene, whose suspicions are already mounting, is scheduled to arrive in Miami with her parents to attend Harvey Firestone’s party for President Calvin Coolidge. And on the side, Gloria Swanson begins a torrid affair with the powerful banker and movie mogul Joseph P. Kennedy . . . a liaison that threatens to bring down all involved.
Miami during the Roaring Twenties is a place where the line between reality and fantasy, cop and criminal, barely exists—and Lee Irby intelligently recreates its sizzle in vibrant, authentic detail. Funny, suspenseful, and filled with one-of-a-kind characters, The Up and Up ranks up there with the best of Elmore Leonard and Carl Hiassen.
About Lee Irby
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Published June 6, 2006
History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction.