Happy Friday Folks! Another Friday and another fantastic author I am spotlighting today. Marshall Stein and his book Rage Begets Murder is definitely not the norm you have seen me review. But, I was intrigued at first that it was set in the area I grew up and I personally have always been fascinated with the Bandstand era. This suspenseful book thrusts you right in the middle of dance-craze television. It shows us the pretty and not so pretty aspects of an era of change. It’s a wonderful read that keeps you guessing. Be sure you check out the rest of my review after the book blurb.
Naomi was all too aware of Varsity Dance, the 1950′s TV dance show that was a gold mine for everyone. Her father owned part of it; her husband David was the lawyer for the show, and her husband’s cousin, Eddie Greene, was the host. She also knew its dark side: Morris Chumsky, the gangster businessman; Sophia, who danced on the show and bewitched Eddie, and Sophia’s uncle, who was head of the Vice Squad and wanted Eddie dead. It was just a matter of time until there were murders, investigations, and great personal loss for Naomi.
Enter the world of Rage Begets Murder where business, politics and crime intersect.
Rage Begets Murder takes you back to a time of dance-craze television. What many people didn’t see was the politics, racism and overall controversy that mixing the new dance music with teenagers dancing. We see this world through the eyes of both a Jewish family and an Italian family in Philadelphia. Eddie Greene is the “Dick Clark” character who hosts the show Varsity Dance, Sophia is the teenage girl who is making questionable choices and in a relationship with the much older Eddie. Julie Rabelli is the Vice Cop who is both Sophia’s Uncle and a cop who wants to take down Greene and Varsity Dance. With these three on a collision course that will involve a network, a gangster, lawyers and investors of Varsity Dance. But, in the end who will win, lose or die.
This was a fantastic murder suspense book. I found that I was drawn in by the history, characters and story all wrapped up in a package I couldn’t get enough of. I thought Blueberry Hill was a wonderful idea placed in this book. I think it really gets the reader thinking of what teenage life must have been like in the 50’s and what a shock to the system the new music and dance would have been. It would have allowed teenagers to ponder doing things that maybe at one time they wouldn’t have. This also allowed adults to take advantage of these vulnerable girls. This was the perfect setting and set up for this book. I loved how each character was so well-developed yet could still progress through the story. It was this infusion of humanity that made the story so believable. Rage Begets Murder will have you going to Wikipedia to read up on the dance craze and any scandals that may have been associated with it. But, it isn’t just the history that I fell for it was the suspense that kept me coming back for more. I almost felt like I was watching an episode of a modern-day crime drama. I loved this. Overall, if you like a little history, suspense and murder wrapped up in an addicting story you will love Rage Begets Murder.
I’m a retired lawyer. Early in my career I was an Assistant United States Attorney in Boston, and later served as the Chief Staff Attorney for the First Circuit Court of Appeals [New England]. In 28 years in private practice I have tried both civil and criminal cases and argued appeals in state and federal courts on every level. I have been published in the Journal of Psychiatry and Law and in the Massachusetts Law Review, and given talks before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, the First Circuit Judicial Conference and the Massachusetts Appeals Court.
Since retiring from the practice of law I have been selected for master level fiction workshops at Grub Street Writers in Boston, Massachusetts.
Several chapters in Rage Begets Murder received favorable comments from such distinguished literary journals as The Missouri Review and Agni.
I currently live in a suburb of Boston with my wife.