5 Stars for Criminal Gold by Ann Aptaker #FF #Mystery @AnnAptaker


Title: Criminal Gold
Author Name: Ann Aptaker
Publication Date & Length: November 18, 2014 – 264pgs


Midnight, New York Harbor, 1949. Cantor Gold, dapper dyke-about-town, smuggler of fine art, waits in her boat under the Brooklyn Bridge for racketeer Gregory Ortine. In the shadow of the bridge, he’ll toss Cantor a satchel of cash, and she’ll toss him a pouch containing a priceless jewel. But the plan, and the jewel, sink when a woman in a red sequined dress drops from the bridge and slams onto Cantor’s boat. She is Opal Shaw, Society Page darling and fiancée of murder-for-hire kingpin Sig Loreale. Through a night of danger, desire, and double-cross, Cantor must satisfy Loreale’s vengeance, stay ahead of an angry Ortine, and untangle the knots of murder tightening around Opal’s best friend and keeper of her dirty secrets, Celeste Copley, a seductress who excites Cantor’s passion but snares her in a labyrinth of lies. The lies explode in a collision of love, loyalty, lust…and death.

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A truly riveting novel. So atmospheric and so well described you could almost see and even smell the scenes as they emerge before your eyes. Very dark and brooding in places you were certainly taken back to the horrors and lawlessness of the post war 1940’s. The graphic opening pages made you fully sympathise and concur with the actions of “Gold” and what she stands for and tries to achieve. This certainly differs from other novels in the way you want Gold to succeed, what ever the cost, how ever many laws she must break. Your sympathies are with Gold throughout her exciting escapades.
Another strength of this book is its accuracy to detail and the decade it is set in. The author has explored in great detail not only the surroundings but the clothes and the economic vibe of this period.
As the plot constantly weaves and twists and you can almost fear the dangers as you turn each page. Finally when the agonizing finale finally seems to bring the novel to an almost inevitable end the protagonist utters his final line leaving the reader once again intrigued and questioning. Is this really the end?
If you enjoy a well written, truly addictive mystery that holds nothing back then you will enjoy this novel. Ms Aptaker certainly had me totally enthralled and I look forward to her sequel due out in September.


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Native New Yorker Ann Aptaker has earned a reputation as a respected if cheeky exhibition designer and curator of art during her career in museums and galleries. Taking the approach that what art authorities find uncomfortable the public would likely enjoy, exhibitions Ann has curated have garnered favorable reviews in the New York Times, Art in America, American Art Review, and other publications.

She brings the same attitude and philosophy to her first love: writing, especially a tangy variety of historical crime fiction. Ann’s short stories have appeared in two editions (2003 and 2004) of the noir crime anthology Fedora. Her flash fiction story, “A Night In Town,” appeared in the online zine Punk Soul Poet. In addition to curating and designing art exhibitions and writing crime stories, Ann is also an art writer and an adjunct professor of art history at the New York Institute of Technology.


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