Book Reviews

Immoral Origins by Lee Matthew Goldberg

What Da Cover Says: It’s 1978 in New York City, and disco is prominent. As are mobsters, gritty streets, needle parks and graffiti-stained subways. Jake Barnum lives in Hell’s Kitchen. He’s a petty thief selling hot coats with his buddy Maggs to make ends meet and help his sick kid brother. At a Halloween party downtown, he meets a woman with a Marilyn Monroe mask who works for an organization called The Desire Card-an underground operation promising its exclusive clients “Any Wish Fulfilled for the Right Price.” As Jake becomes taken with its leader, a pseudo father and sociopath at heart, he starts stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. In other words…himself. But as he dives deeper in with the Card, begins falling love with Marilyn, and sees the money rolling in, clients’ wishes start becoming more and more suspect-some leading to murder.

The first book in the Desire Card series, Immoral Origins follows those indebted to this sinister organisation-where the ultimate price is the cost of one’s soul.

What I Says: This was a cracking opening book to the Desire Card series, a proper atmospheric Noir thriller that pulls you into the action and which makes you read this at such a pace you have to fight to keep up. Jake Barnum is a petty thief who has a chance meeting at a party, he meets none other than Marilyn Monroe and gets pulled into a sinister underworld catering wishes for the rich and powerful.

The characters are wonderful, I love the dual personalities of the mask and the wearer underneath. Also the setting, 1978 the year I was born, I reckon more books should be based then seeing as the bestest reader arrived on Earth then. The relationship between Jake and Marilyn was well written the passion almost drips of the page, as their bond grows more intense Jake finds himself pulled further and further into the mysteries of The Card…who exactly is Gable, what is the issue with Peck and what the hell is Bette typing on her typewriter.

Goldberg does a good job of keeping the reader tied to the era, references to political events, well known locations like Studio 54 and a cracking selection of disco music, although Jake’s abuse of the poor Beegees was rather uncalled for. The further into the book I got, the more engrossed I became, reading far quicker than I normally do. There are 5 books in this series and they are all being released in 2022, how cool is that? No waiting around for the next book whilst I forget what I read.

This book was good fun, full of violence, intrigue and an amazing retro feel, the sort of series of books that would work well on TV so get on board and start this before all the kids say that it’s sick (or whatever word they use these days, I was born in 1978 so have no idea). Bring on book 2 I say!

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