Thank you to the author and Book Publicity Services for a free copy of Paradise Palms: Red Menace Mob in exchange for an honest review.
I didn’t have any specific expectations going into this book, but I was definitely excited about it because it’s one of the few crime noirs I’ve read. I wanted to explore the genre more and Paradise Palms sounded like a good one to start with.
How’d it turn out? Read on to know!
When Max Shapiro’s wife succumbs to her long illness, she leaves behind a widower who is barely able to keep his own hotel – the aging Paradise Palms – running. Their eldest son, David Shapiro, takes on a leadership role, trying to keep the hotel, and his brothers, together. But what begins as an attempt to save a near-dying business, which is a reflection of the challenges of the Golden Age of Hollywood, turns into something much more. David, desperate to retain his family’s business and family honor, discovers that his father is not at all who he thought he was. Even as he struggles to keep the business from failing in its fight against changing times, he finds a bigger challenge in mobster, Mickey Cohen, who is attempting to commandeer the hotel. As one fight leads to another, David struggles to do what he’s always tried to do – keep his family intact. Except this time, the price he is forced to pay may be too much even for him to bear.
7 out of 10
7 out of 10
8 out of 10
8 out of 10 for its noir feel; 5 out of 10 for its crime angle
7 out of 10
Part of a Series:
Reminiscent of some of Barbara Taylor Bradford’s books and even (slightly) of The Godfather, Paradise Palms: Red Menace Mob follows a family saga at the heights of one of LA’s most tumultuous, yet glorious, times.
What I Liked:
There is a general goodness in Paul Haddad’s characters that is refreshing and keeps you rooting for them. There are also complicated emotions, between people and within oneself, that are explored really well and with an appreciable, raw honesty. The story itself takes some surprising turns that add to the intrigue of, “How is this going to turn out at the end?”
What I Didn’t Like:
Paradise Palms: Red Menace Mob has a lot less crime than its blurb may lead you to believe. It is more of a linear story, touching upon the relationships within the members of a family and the challenges a son faces as he attempts to come to terms with what is expected of him (this is where I found the similarity to The Godfather). Given its format, it’s not a very exciting read – but it is definitely consistent and manages to keep you engaged to know how it turns out.
Who Should Read It:
Anyone who enjoys family saga-style stories as well as stories based around the 1950s world – you’d definitely like the world that Paul Haddad builds.
Who Should Avoid:
If you’re not fond of family sagas or slow burn books, I’d recommend skipping this one.
Read It For:
David Shapiro’s story – the character gains more and more prominence as the story goes on (he’s not too central to start with), and you can truly associate with each one of his wins and losses.
All in all, I’d say that Paul Haddad’s Paradise Palms: Red Menace Mob was a good read. It keeps you invested, although not rushing to turn the pages, and is definitely an emotional ride due to its excellent characterization.
Leave us a comment below if you’d like to share any recommendations, thoughts, and/or rants! And as always, thank you for stopping by and reading my review!