Cover image for Button man
Title:
Button man

Button men
Title:
Button man
Edition:
First edition.
Publisher Info:
New York : Minotaur Books, [2018]
Physical Description:
371 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
"A novel"--Jacket.

Includes bibliographical references.
Abstract:
1930s, New York's Lower East Side. At the death of their father, Morris Rabishevsky, twelve, apprenticed himself to a garment cutter in a clothing factory; Sol headed to accounting school; but Harry fell in with a gang of thugs. Morris steadily climbs through the ranks at the factory, goes out on his own, and convinces Sol to come work with him. But Harry can't be lured away from the power and the money that come from his association with Louis Buchalter, the most ruthless mobster in New York. When Buchalter sets his sights on the unions that staff the garment makers' factories, he pits brother against brother.-- adapted from jacket.

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F GROS Book Adult Fiction
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Summary

Summary

"Mr. Gross's direct style is full of sentiment but never maudlin and well-suited to scenes of violent action. Button Man has plenty of zip-and lots of moxie, too." - Wall Street Journal

"This is a big, heartfelt handshake of a book, with all the street-scrambling energy that distinguishes the best fiction of Jeffrey Archer and Mario Puzo." - USA Today

Following up The One Man and The Saboteur , Gross's next historical thriller brings to life the drama of the birth of organized crime in 1930s New York City from the tale of one family.

After a string of New York Times bestselling suburban thrillers, Andrew Gross has reinvented himself as a writer of historical thrillers. In his latest novel, Button Man , he delivers a stirring story of a Jewish family brought together in the dawn of the women's garment business and torn apart by the birth of organized crime in New York City in the 1930s.

Morris, Sol, and Harry Rabishevsky grew up poor and rough in a tiny flat on the Lower East Side, until the death of their father thrust them into having to fend for themselves and support their large family. Morris, the youngest, dropped out of school at twelve years old and apprenticed himself to a garment cutter in a clothing factory; Sol headed to accounting school; but Harry, scarred by a family tragedy, fell in with a gang of thugs as a teenager. Morris steadily climbs through the ranks at the factory until at twenty-one he finally goes out on his own, convincing Sol to come work with him. But Harry can't be lured away from the glamour, the power, and the money that come from his association with Louis Buchalter, whom Morris has battled with since his youth and who has risen to become the most ruthless mobster in New York. And when Buchalter sets his sights on the unions that staff the garment makers' factories, a fatal showdown is inevitable, pitting brother against brother.

This new novel is equal parts historical thriller, rich with the detail of a vibrant New York City in the 1920s and 1930s, and family saga, based on Andrew Gross's own family story and on the history of the era, complete with appearances by real-life characters like mobsters Louis Lepke and Dutch Schultz and special prosecutor Thomas Dewey, and cements Gross's reputation as today's most atmospheric and original historical thriller writer.


Author Notes

Andrew Gross was born in 1952 in New York City. He grew up in Manhattan and attended the Barnard School for Boys. Both his father and grandfather were successful clothing manufacturers; they ran the Leslie Fay Companies. Gross received a degree in English from Middlebury College in 1974. In 1982, he received a Masters in Business from Columbia University. He attended the Writers Program at the University of Iowa.

The draft of his first book Hydra, a political thriller, was completed in 1998. After dozens of rejections from agents and ultimately publishers he received a phone call from James Patterson. Gross met with Patterson and discussed the early concepts for what ultimately became the Women's Murder Club series. Gross worked with Patterson on several books in this series, including Second Chance and Third Degree, both of which were bestsellers. Then, they branched out on different themes together, co-authoring the bestsellers, The Jester, Lifeguard, and Judge and Jury.

In pursuing his solo career, Gross wrote such works as The Blue Zone, which debuted on the New York Times bestseller list in the United States. A year later, It was followed up by The Dark Tide ( 2007), which was nominated for Thriller of the Year by the International Thriller Writers Association. The Dark Tide featured the Gross fictional detective Ty Hauck of Greenwich, Connecticut, who became the lead character in his corruption and political conspiracy-based bestsellers Don't Look Twice and Reckless. His titles 12 Seconds and Everything to Lose also made the New York Times bestseller list. The One Man was published in August 2016. His latest bestseller is The Saboteur.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Bestseller Gross (The Saboteur) charts a gutsy kid's struggle to succeed in the garment industry in early 20th-century New York City in this formulaic crime thriller. In 1915, 12-year-old Morris Raab lands a job sweeping floors and making deliveries for a clothing manufacturer on the Lower East Side. His ambition and drive lead him to put in extra hours and to closely study the work of veteran marker maker Mr. Beck. Despite his youth and inexperience, Morris takes over from Beck after the marker maker announces his retirement. By the time he turns 20, Morris is basically running the business. In later years, he runs afoul of an organized crime group, whose leaders include the vicious Lepke Buchalter; marries the daughter of a big-shot lawyer; and aids mob-busting prosecutor Thomas Dewey in his investigations. Gross strains credulity at several points and fails to bring the mean streets of the Big Apple to life. Still, this Horatio Alger story will resonate with his many fans. 100,000-copy announced first printing; author tour. Agent: Simon Lipskar, Writers House. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Gross' historical suspense novel delivers a gut-wrenching, noirish portrait of Jewish organized crime and labor unionism in 1930s New York. By personalizing key characters, the author immerses readers in a maze of labor racketeering and political and police corruption, upping the nail-biting suspense chapter by chapter. The narrative follows Morris and Sol, two Rabishevsky brothers striving to stay afloat in their garment business while fighting the pressure of union takeovers and price controlling by criminals and criminal organizations (Dutch Schultz and Murder, Inc.). Meanwhile, Harry, the other Rabishevsky brother, wastes his days consorting with button men (hired killers), hoping to find acceptance among them. These are characters you won't forget, as they exist in a complex nightmare brought on by the Depression, immigration, poverty, and greed. The surprise is that any good men rise to fight. Alternately frightful and fascinating, the story viscerally describes the era, exposing the motives and fears that drive each character and play out on the streets. Neil Kleid's graphic novel Brownsville (2006) also vividly portrays many of the same criminals, along with District Attorney Thomas Dewey, who fought them in court. Readers might also like the fast-paced Quinn mystery series by Michael Mayo for another perspective on the same period.--Jen Baker Copyright 2018 Booklist


Library Journal Review

Growing up poor on New York's Lower East Side, Morris Rabishevsky (later shortened to Raab) and his two brothers fend for themselves after their father's death. Morris drops out of school at 12 and goes to work in the garment industry, while Sol heads to accounting school. By the time Morris is in his 20s, he has his own company, where Sol also works. It's the 1930s and mobsters are taking over the unions and enforcing their will. Morris's childhood acquaintances now work for gangsters and his ne'er-do-well younger brother Harry associates with the likes of Dutch Schultz and Albert -Anastasia. By resisting the mob, Morris suffers the burning of his factory and the murder of a close friend. Another childhood friend, now a lawyer, finally convinces him to join Thomas Dewey in fighting the corruption and intimidation. Gross's third stand-alone historical thriller (after The One Man and The Saboteur) continues the theme of those earlier works by pitting an ordinary person with core morality against seemingly overwhelming forces of evil. VERDICT Neither thriller nor mystery, this is a big departure from Gross's past work and may strain the loyalty of his many fans. But historical fiction fans will be drawn in by the details of the author's own family history in the garment industry. [See Prepub Alert, 3/26/18.]-Roland Person, formerly with Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.