No Good Men is a historical mystery novel written by Thea McAlistair. This book piqued my interest because it’s set in the 1930s and features gangsters and a m/m romantic subplot.
Alex is in his early 20s, and working alongside his mentor Donnie as a bodyguard for the mayor. They’re at a nightclub one night, and while Alex is talking to a man at the bar during his break, the mayor and Donnie are both shot and killed.
It turns out that Sev, the man Alex was taking to, is the nightclub’s manager, and he has mob ties. The mayor’s death might also be linked to organized crime, and so Alex begins asking questions, although it is more for his mentor’s sake than for the mayor.
And of course, the mayor’s murder wasn’t an accident, or even one disgruntled citizen. As more people connected to the case are killed, it’s clear that Alex is in the middle of a dangerous situation.
Alex grows closer to Sev over the course of the book, although I must say that the romantic subplot was underemphasized. That is, other characters mention it, but there are barely any hints of affection between Alex and Sev because McAlistair prefers a rather drastic fade to black approach: in one instance, they were figuring out whose house they should go to for an assignation, and then when the next scene began, they were waking up together. I don’t mean to suggest that this book needed play-by-play love scenes like a romance novel, but I did come away feeling like I was missing something from the romance between Alex and Sev. Clearly, 1930s social attitudes contributed to Alex and Sev’s inability to be open about their budding relationship, but it did seem to be a fairly open secret amongst the secondary characters.
The pace of the book was good, with a steady flow of new developments to keep the mystery satisfying. Alex was a reliable narrator; at times, he seemed very unsure of himself, but I think this made him more reliable and authentic. Alex is bolstered by a strong cast of secondary characters, and I would have to say that my favorite was Pearl, a young neighbor. She had a preternatural ability to turn up at the wrong time, but her insatiable curiosity was delightful.
I would recommend No Good Men to fans of historical mystery. This was an interesting book, and I am looking forward to reading more from McAlistair in the future.
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.