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Empire rising
Thomas Kelly
Adult Fiction KELLY

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Construction was started on the Empire State Building on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 1930. It was just as the Depression was beginning to squeeze America in its death grip and every job was sacred. Kelly, who created first-rate working-class heroes in Payback and The Rackets, takes a fascinating look at how New York City was run at the end of the Jazz Age-by bribe, kickback and political machination. The characters are tough and vengeful: Michael Briody, steelworker, WWI vet, IRA gunman; Johnny Farrell, a "narrowback" lawyer who functions as the mayor's bagman; Grace Masterson, a beautiful painter who lives on a houseboat on the East River, holds dark secrets and counts both Briody and Farrell as lovers; and Egan, the governor's dour henchman. Historical figures of the time round out the cast: FDR, the governor of New York, making sure that nothing will hinder him on the way to the White House; Mayor James J. (Jimmy) Walker, a dapper rogue and master practitioner of "honest graft"; Judge Joseph Force Crater, stooge of Tammany, destined to be eclipsed in a legendary way; and Al Smith, the "Happy Warrior," a political has-been now in charge of the construction of the world's tallest building. Kelly weaves a fascinating tale that captures the cadences and decadence of art deco New York, where desperate working-class have-nots and powerful elite swells collide violently in a nation on the brink of great change. Agent, Nat Sobel at Sobel Weber Associates. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

The destruction of the World Trade Center (WTC) towers has brought renewed attention to the world's tall buildings, and Kelly has written an engaging historical novel about the construction in 1930 of the WTC's preeminent New York rival, the Empire State Building. He chronicles the skyscraper's nearly miraculous rise in just over a year to become the world's tallest building, painting a skilled portrait of the men who sent the building skyward and executing a likeness of New York City as it was during the Depression: corrupt, violent, and heartbreaking in both its sadness and beauty. Kelly deftly arranges a complex plot with a believable romantic twist, centering on Irish immigrant Michael Briody, rivet man and IRA gunrunner. Empire Rising is also a story of New York City caught in a transition of power between Tammany Hall and the Irish mob on one hand and the rise of the Italian Mafia, fueled by profits from the Prohibition liquor trade, on the other. Kelly's characterizations, real and fictional, are vivid, and the plot takes enough turns to escape predictability. Michael Deehy's Irish brogue is perfect; recommended for all libraries.-Vince Brewton, Univ. of North Alabama, Florence (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Michael Briody
Male
Irish
IRA member; runs guns to Ireland; working on the construction of the Empire State Building.
Construction worker

Grace Masterson
Female
Mistress
Freelance artist.
Artist



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