1949: Rudy, A Jewish New Yorker snatches a briefcase of cash from a dead man in Los Angeles and runs away from his old life, into the arms of the Boston mob.
1966: Hinako, a young Japanese girl runs away from what she thought was the suffocating conformity of a life in Japan. Aiming to make a fresh start in America, she falls into the grip of a Hawaiian gang dubbed 'The Company'.
1967: Rudy and Hinako's lives collide in the city of Honolulu, where there is nowhere left for either of them to run, and only blood remains to redeem them.
Say Goodbye When I'm Gone is a gritty noir thriller with echoes of classic James M. Cain, Raymond Chandler and James Ellroy.
What did I think?
Like a moth to a flame, I was drawn to Say Goodbye When I'm Gone by the absolutely stunning cover. I know we are told that we shouldn't judge a book by its cover but you certainly can in this instance as Stephen J. Golds has written a stunning novel.
There are two strands to the story, that of Rudy and Hinako, which become intertwined in 1967 Hawaii. The story does jump around a bit so you need your wits about you to keep up as we read about Rudy and Hinako's past and present. Japanese girl Hinako dreams of a life in America but her dream turns into a nightmare when she is enslaved by a ruthless gang. Hinako only gets a short period of freedom and she chooses to visit an antiques store which is owned by Rudy. Rudy has his own demons to contend with but after losing everything and everyone he now has nothing more to lose. Rudy is drawn to Hinako and is determined to help her, at any cost.
If you like watching The Sopranos, you will love Say Goodbye When I'm Gone; it's a dark, brutal and raw retro thriller. Stephen J. Golds' writing is so vivid and lively but what really stands out are the bold voices and the keen sense of place which bring the story to life. A very enjoyable read and I'll be keeping an eye out for more by this author.
I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.
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About the author:
Stephen J. Golds was born in London, U.K, but has lived in Japan for most of his adult life. He enjoys spending time with his daughters, reading books, traveling, boxing and listening to old Soul LPs. His novel Say Goodbye When I’m Gone will be released by Red Dog Press in October 2020 and another novel Always the Dead will be released by Close to The Bone Press January 2021.
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