Book Review

The Venetian and the Rum Runner – Book Review

The Venetian and the Rum Runner is a book written by L.A. Witt, which was released in September 2020. This prohibition-era story is about an Irish immigrant, Danny Moore, living in New York City trying to find a way to support his family. During this era, there are ongoing animosities between the Irish Immigrants and Italian mobsters in the city. Danny isn’t immune to this, as two of his brothers had been killed several years prior by the mafia, leaving one of their wives a widow.

Danny and his friends have resorted to theft as a means of survival. They come up with a scheme that if it succeeds should help them survive for several months. It is easy to see them as petty criminals that deserve the consequences that occur, but Witt shows their nuances so well, that it isn’t as clear cut. They talk about how they have tried to have proper jobs, but there is no way to make enough money to support their family. Add to that, most of the jobs available are hard labor that quickly takes a physical toll. They are not attempting to be wealthy men. They want to make sure their rent is paid and that their families do not starve.

Their heist seems to be going without any problems until two of them are nearly caught. Danny had already discovered they were in a mobster’s hotel room and was trying to leave when they were interrupted by Guilia, the sister of Carmine Battaglia, entering the room. She was joined by Ricky il Sacchi. While Danny and his associate hide, they overhear an argument between the other two. Danny believes that the woman is in physical danger and acts on impulse to defend her, accidentally killing her assailant. Turns out he is the nephew of a mob boss.

Carmine Battaglia learns about the killing and quickly realizes that the killer saved his sister’s life and prevent her from being assaulted. His honor takes hold and he wishes to protect the Irishman who saved her, despite the animosity that exists in the city.

Battaglia, known as the Venetian, decides to hire Danny and his crew to be rum runners. During their time working together, neither Battaglia nor Danny want to accept that the more time they spend together the more they find themselves attracted to each other and are both afraid to say anything or act on it.

Witt did an amazing job building the tension between the two characters. With every chapter, I was completely committed to what was happening. At times I was worried about what may happen when the two finally realized their feelings.

After they do, the reader finds themselves wanting more as the two can only ever share stolen kisses. Both are so worried about what could happen should they be discovered; they are limited to the occasional moments between jobs.

The drama kicks up when the il Sacchi family discovers that Danny was responsible for the death of Ricky. Even though the two rival families agree to let the matter drop. Salvatore, the brother of Ricky, does not care about the agreement and will do anything for revenge. Battaglia’s love for Danny is so strong, he is willing to risk his standing in “the family” if it means that Danny remains safe.

This is, to date, my favorite novel by L.A. Witt. I was so sad when the story came to an end, that I nearly started to reread it. There is a tease at the end of the book for the next installment in the series. While I do hope that we will continue the story of these two, I suspect that the next story will deal with some of the other characters in the story. But we shall have to wait and see.

If you love period dramas, action stories, and intense love story. This is the book for you.


L.A. Witt’s Twitter

Available on Amazon

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