Velma Gone Awry, a review by Sherry

posted in: Sherry | 1

Velma Gone Awry
A Brooklyn 8 Ballo Mystery
Matt Cost

294 pages
Encircle Publications
published April 12, 2023

Amazon | Goodreads

I’ve read a couple of novels by this author and I am always entertained.  And this one was no exception.  In addition to being set in the 1920s (I needed this for a reading challenge), it cameos iconic writers, musicians, sports figures and gangsters just to name a few.  It added a lot of fun to the book as you stumbled across the next icon.  I’ll admit it took me a little while to adjust to 8 as the name of our main character, but once I adapted, I read this rather quickly.

What starts out as a simple find my daughter case for 8, turns much more complex.  There were twists and turns as 8 worked the case.  The atmosphere, setting and even the language, really made me feel the 1920s.  The mystery drew me in and I kept wondering who/what I could trust.  I’m definitely interested to see 8 works on next.

Lovers of historical mysteries will fall in love with this one.

About the book

Award-winning author Matt Cost brings us back to Brooklyn in the Roaring ’20s and introduces us to Hungarian private eye, 8 Ballo, who is hired to find the daughter of a wealthy businessman. The search will lead him to cross paths with Dorothy Parker, Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Coleman Hawkins, Bugsy Siegel, Babe Ruth, and many more as he tries to uncover why Velma went awry.

8 Ballo’s mother was certain he was going to be born a girl, but when he comes out a boy, she writes down simply the number 8, as he has seven older siblings. She meant to change it to a real name at some point but never got around to it.

Now, in his mid-thirties, 8 is a college educated man, a veteran of the Great War, jilted in love, and has his own private investigator business. He enjoys his friends, a good book, jazz music, and a very simple life. When he is hired to find the young flapper daughter of a German businessman, life suddenly becomes much more complicated.

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