Ann Aptaker has given us a true gift with her latest novel in the Cantor Gold Crime Series. Murder and Gold is the fifth book in this series and is definitely worth reading. This story takes the reader on a dangerous journey full of murder, violence and suspense as we see our favorite art thief and smuggler, Cantor Gold, attempt to stay alive and out of the clutches of the law and the mob.
The year is 1954, fifteen years before Stonewall. Homosexuality is a criminal offense. Gay and lesbian bars have to operate underground and are often raided. Being openly gay is dangerous, but that doesn’t matter to Cantor Gold who is proud to live her life as the butch she is, clothes and all. She finds herself in deep trouble when women she is connected to begin showing up murdered…one body right outside her apartment building. Lieutenant Norm Huber from Homicide sees this as a chance to put Cantor Gold away for good. Mob boss Sig Loreale wants Cantor to find the killer and end the investigations…or else. Cantor truly is stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Murder and Gold is a true noir novel. It has that feel of darkness and danger from the very first page. We see the story through the eyes and thoughts of Cantor herself, so we have a front row seat to all she is going through and what she is feeling. Obviously she and several of the secondary characters have been well-developed over the past four books, and by now Cantor is almost larger than life.
This is a character and plot driven novel, but the real brilliance of this book is the setting and the atmosphere. The author literally drops us into 1954 New York City and the surrounding areas. We see the buildings and their different architecture. We feel the chill of a dark September night, the glistening, rain soaked sidewalks, the neon signs glowing through the darkness. It is this setting that gives this murder mystery a noir feel worthy of a Mickey Spillane or Ross MacDonald novel or film.
Ms. Aptaker has created an exceptional noir murder mystery filled with action, violence, amazing characters, and the perfect setting. This book has my highest recommendation.
I received an ARC from Bywater Books.