Norman Green's The Angel on Montague Street is exactly what a hard-boiled mystery should be. Gritty and focused. Well-defined characters and witty dialogue intricate to the story's flow. Suspense and action with a splash of romance. It's in there.
It is the fall of 1973. Silvano Iurata has returned from Viet Nam. Growing up in Brooklyn, he was raised in a mobster family. Things got out of control, and some of the family wanted Silvano dead. Silvano was told to move away and never return. But a year ago, his mentally challenged brother Noonie went missing, and Silvano cannot just leave it alone.
He returns to Brooklyn to find out what happened to his kid brother, and it doesn't take long before word spreads that he is back in town. That saying "the mob never forgets" is true. Little Dom, Silvano's cousin, wants to kill him, regardless of the cost. After all, Little Dom blames Silvano for everything wrong in his own life.
Silvano's plan to search for answers in connection with the disappearance of his brother is limited. All he knows is the place where Noonie last worked, so that is where he begins his personal quest, by landing a job at the same company -- and by falling in love with the company's office worker. Everyone remembers Noonie, but no one knows what happened to him. The consensus is that he just wandered away and never returned. At least, that's what everyone tells Silvano. But Silvano is sure that a few of the employees know more than they're telling.
It is a race to find answers and a race to keep out of Little Dom's clutches. Silvano has his work cut out for him. From living in dark and pungent hotels to staying with friends and homelessness, Silvano's journey is deeper and more significant than even he can imagine. Lies and truth are all around him. It all boils down to finding the right people, asking the right questions, staying alive and keep those close to him alive.
Witty noir dialogue and narrative allows The Angel of Montague Street to move at its own perfect pace. Norman Green's writing style lets him mix genres effectively, from the literary to the hard-boiled thriller.