MURDER AT THE GALLIANO CLUB is my next release, set in upstate New York during Prohibition. The Galliano Club is an Italian social club for men, catering to mill workers producing the copper and iron to build America’s bridges, ship hulls, and electrical wires.
The little club, however, is caught between trying to be a mostly respectable business and the Al Capone wanna-be Antonelli brothers.
They heard the truck before its headlights cut holes in the darkness. Luca stepped away from the protection of the brick building and raised a hand. The lights blinked out. The vehicle clattered to a stop as Vito hauled himself off the step.
“You got a problem with the police?” Sal Antonelli spilled out of the passenger side as his brother Milo eased himself from behind the wheel.
“Just making his usual rounds,” Vito said. No one shook hands.
“You playing games with us, Bottini?” Sal was taller and the one in charge but otherwise the brothers were identical. Walrus moustaches, tweed caps, baggy trousers, and woolen pea coats like a couple of sailors on shore leave.
“I got a business to run,” Vito said roughly. “I don’t got no time for games.”
“Sure, sure.” Sal raised his hands and gave Vito a twisted grimace that passed for amusement. “We do good business together. Good for you. Good for us.”
“Let’s get on with it,” Luca interjected. There was a dead body on the other side of the wall and Vito looked like he was going to fall over dead of a heart attack.
Teeth bared and glinting white in the dark, Sal transferred his rictus grin to Luca. “I almost forgot you could talk, Lombardo.”
Milo gave a snort. Luca opened the door to the cellar and began to haul out the empties.
Vito produced a wad of bills. “Luca’s right. Let’s get on with it.”
Sal took the cash but didn’t bother to count it like he usually did. “We’re in business together, eh, Bottini? How about we talk about a little expansion?”
Luca let the cellar door close. There was an ugly edge to Sal’s voice.
“I got a friend,” Sal went on. “Benny Rotolo. He’s in the, ah, beverage business with us.”
“Expanding our distribution,” Milo added.
“I don’t know him,” Vito said, puffing on his cigar.
“Benny needs a place to store inventory,” Sal went on. “We think the Galliano Club would do. You got a nice setup here in Lido. Good location. Cellar as big as a warehouse. Nice place for business associates to play cards when they’re not busy moving inventory.”
It wasn't a threat, but Luca felt a shiver of danger in the frosty air.
Vito sent a smoke ring floating into the silence. “Lido isn’t Chicago,” he said finally. “Tell Rotolo I got plans for that space.”
“Benny would be a good friend for you to have,” Sal said. He swaggered over to Vito and thrust his face into the other man’s. “He can get the cops off your back just like that.” Sal snapped his fingers against Vito’s temple.
Luca rounded the truck to stand next to his boss, wishing he hadn’t left his baseball bat behind the bar.
“The Galliano Club’s got no trouble with the cops.” Vito exhaled cigar smoke directly into Sal’s face.
Sal shrugged and stepped back, still grinning. “I’ll tell him you’re thinking about it. You don’t want to have no trouble with Benny Rotolo. Those warehouses in Rochester that burnt up? I’m not saying Benny did it, but he likes to play with matches. You know what I mean?”
Read more about the upcoming Galliano Club series here: http://carmenamato.net/galliano-club-mystery-series/Read more about the upcoming Galliano Club series here: http://carmenamato.net/