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The Bootlegger

(Isaac Bell #7)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  4,717 ratings  ·  344 reviews
Detective Isaac Bell returns in the extraordinary new adventure in the #1 New York Times–bestselling series.
It is 1920, and both Prohibition and bootlegging are in full swing. When Isaac Bell’s boss and lifelong friend Joseph Van Dorn is shot and nearly killed leading the high-speed chase of a rum-running vessel, Bell swears to him that he will hunt down the lawbreakers,
Hardcover, 403 pages
Published March 4th 2014 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
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Average rating 3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,717 ratings  ·  344 reviews

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Jan 01, 2014 rated it it was ok
With excited anticipation, having read all other titles in Cussler's Isaac Bell series and enjoyed each, I longed to get my hands on this one, but my excitement quickly turned to disappointment. And though I don't relish writing negative reviews . . . "The Bootlegger" was a shipwreck. A far cry from Cussler's typical fast, furious, finesse and fun action/adventure books. I really had to push myself to slog through this snail-paced, lackluster tome. Primarily, except for the opening scene and the ...more
May 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016
The Bootlegger is another great book in the Isaac Bell series(#7) almost equal to the quality of the first two. This time prohibition has passed and Isaac finds himself going after a mysterious bootlegger when his boss Joe Van Dorn is shot while on a routine Coast Guard patrol. The thing that made this book so much fun, is the villain has a bad-ass speedboat, which can ultimately only be taken down by another similar boat driven by Isaac Bell of course. Think of it as a prohibition era episode o ...more
Apr 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Another delightful issue in this series from Clive Cussler and Justin Scott. (Full disclosure, Justin and I are fast friends.) The Bootlegger continues their winning streak - a fast-moving story, dashing hero, insidious villains, and a wealth of period details.

Justin and Clive are delightful writers - their breathless tale is a feast of words and action, delighting in language as well as in narrative. Some thrillers are wonderfully plotted but weighted with dreadful flow of language. (Ask me no
Jeremy Cartner
Jul 03, 2014 rated it liked it
I'm going to start this review by saying that I'm a big fan of the Issac Bell series so it pains me to say that in comparison to the other entries in the series I found The Bootlegger to be something of a disappointment. I'm not saying that it's a bad novel, quite the contrary in fact, but when you compare it to The Wrecker or The Thief it's sadly not up to par. The beginning starts off with an action packed gun battle during which Joseph Van Dorn is critically injured and Issac Bell sets out to ...more
Don Gorman
Apr 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
I think I am going to have to lay off of Clive Cussler for a while. The last two books of his I have read have been sorely lacking. Yes, there is always some good action but the stories have been awfully lame. Isaac Bell is a great swashbuckling protagonist, but even he can't pull this book out of its ridiculousness. Russians and bootlegging and violence, oh my! 1 1/2 stars.
Ian Allan
Sep 11, 2014 rated it liked it
Every time I read a Cussler book now I swear it's going to be the last one.

They're all the same.

I've read all seven of the Isaac Bells. First one I thought was a 5-star masterpiece. Awesome. Something fresh and new.

But now it's just kind of the same story over and over. This seventh one is just as good as the last five, but I've grown tired of this formula.

Gevera Bert
Apr 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
This book was terrible. It was boring. Overwritten. I kept wishing for the Reader's Digest Condensed version. Clearly Cussler is just phoning it in at this point.
Also, if I never read the phrase "the real McCoy" again, that will be just fine with me.
Lisa Brown
Another fun Isaac Bell adventure, and this one finds the VanDorn's searching for the man who shot their boss, Joseph VanDorn. While searching for the culprit, Isaac uncovers what looks to be a much bigger plot and organization than just a bootlegging operation - it may just be the Bolsheviks looking for a way to reign terror down on the United States. Issac must find the man and stop him, or it may have dire consequences.

Like I mentioned before, a fun read and a good clean adventure. Nothing rea
Frank Simpson
Apr 29, 2014 rated it did not like it
Without a doubt the worst Clive Cussler book written. I am a huge Cussler fan but this book did not live up to his standards. Almost as if someone else wrote it. The plot jumped all over the place and the characters seemed to just be thrown into the story. Hopefully the next one will be better.
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I liked this book. I think I've read all of author Clive Cussler's Dirk Pitt series and I thought they were a little laughable. Dirk was shot at least 200 times during the series but always had the last laugh.

Cussler's new character, Isaac Bell, a tall, blond detective, independently wealthy, and almost too smart for his own good seems to be a close rip off of the Pendergast series written by Douglas Preston and his co-author Lincoln Childs.

The plot of this book is grounded during Prohibition wi
Dan Curnutt
Mar 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I loved the Isaac Bell series when it first came out. The settings on the trains was new and different and Cussler did a great job with it. Then we had the airplane race across America.

Now we have The Bootlegger. The story is good, but it drags. It doesn't seem to have the same exhilarating detail and tension of the previous Isaac Bell novels. BUT, the writing is good, the story is good and, well it's Clive Cussler.

The story is going to involve several items. The Communist Party, Prohibition, Bo
James Campbell
Mar 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was a book that I picked up on a whim. Plus, it was on sale too! I had never read anything by Cussler, and I will say the title and cover art did influence my purchase (as well as reading a brief synopsis on it). Bootlegging and rum running are a big part of the local history where I live (Windsor, Ontario), so the story line caught my attention.

This is a very fast paced, and historically accurate adventure novel. Isaac Bell is the main character, and he is a detective who is trying to trac
Morris Graham
Jan 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone interested in Action and adventure, and historical fiction
Clive Cussler does it again. This time he drops back into the prohibition-era speakeasies and bootleggers. But there is a twist. The new Bolsheviks from Russia are quickly trying to spread communism throughout Europe, and now to America. Follow Isaac Bell of the Van Dorn Detective Agency as he battles with the International communists who seek to dominate the bootlegging and rum-running operations in the U.S. to finance a communist revolution here. Cussler gets everything about this period novel ...more
Tamara Sodell
Oct 26, 2014 rated it did not like it
There are very few books I will rate with one star. The Bootlegger has earned this distinction in spades. I was so excited to read it because I love the Prohibition era, but the story was so poorly written and the characters so flat that I literally forced myself through reading it. I can't think of a single thing I enjoyed about this book. Sorry Clive Cussler, but I don't think I'll be reading any more by you.
John Monaghan
Aug 14, 2017 rated it liked it
A good summer time read, out in the yard with a glass of iced tea.

Characters were good, plot was straight forward. I had problems with the multiple arcs in the book, sections of the book that revolved around a plot twist.

The book is very similar to any of the others that come out of the Cussler book factory. They are predictable in form and function. But, that being said, great ways to give the mind a break and drift away into the story.
Mar 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: clive-cussler
Just finished it and OMG I loved it , every time I read one of the Isaac Bell Adventures by Clive Cussler they just keep getting better and better, I love all his books and that includes this series as well since its my all time favorite series but I think out of all 7 books that I've read so far of his Isaac Bell Adventures that this one is my favorite one.can't wait to read book 8 .
Oct 05, 2016 rated it liked it
With this book, the setting goes from pre-WWI to the Roaring '20s.

Bootleggers are taking over the country. A Russian communist is using the gains from bootlegging and the access it grants to overthrow the US, or is he?

Isaac Bell gets on the case and pursues him across the country, getting the old band back together.

Better than the last couple of books in the series.
Julie Kellner
I haven't enjoyed the last few Isaac Bell novels but this one was reminiscent of The Chase thoroughly enjoyed it.
Rita Chapman
Jul 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
I didn't enjoy this book as much as The Golden Buddha. I found it hard to follow and some of it was hard to believe.
Roxanne Z.
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
The premise of a foreign power, as represented by Zolner, bootlegging during Prohibition is inventive and interesting. Zolner has the admirable traits of leading from the front and being inventive. He is fun to dislike because he is cruel and a hypocrite. He's a Communist but he enjoys the wealthy trappings of capitalist society.

I like how Prohibition is portrayed. 'Prohibition' can bring to mind the glamour, fun, and risk of going to a high class speakeasy. This is a more nuanced look. The imag
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
#7 of the Isaac Bell series.

Prohibition. The perfect setting for a private detective agency to team up with the federal government in order to stop bootleggers and rum-runners especially with the corruption, bribery and graft that occurs.

So lets add a beautiful heiress fascinated by a Bolshevik masquerading as a exiled Russian prince - she's aware - who is using a incredibly fast speedboat to hijack other bootlegger's cargo as well as set himself up as controlling alcohol imported into New York.
Nov 16, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Maybe a series-killing book for me. The Chase was great, The Wrecker was good, but every book since then has gotten worse. The whole thing is blah. I could spend paragraphs shitting on everything that makes it bad, but "blah" is the most succinct way to express what this book is.

So I'm down only to reading the Boyd Morrison books and the Dirk Pitt books, the latter of which have also reached their end.

I hate to say it, but it's time for Clive to retire. I know he's probably not writing any of th
Sandy Schmidt
Jul 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
We start in Rum Row, New York, 1921 in the midst of Prohibition. Isaac Bell is with Joseph Van Dorn, head of Van Dorn Protective Services, in his S-1 Flying Yacht aka Loening Model 23, early light monoplane flying boat which won the Collier Trophy in 1921. The Agency has lost some of its best detective in the war, some in the flu pandemic, at least two corrupted by bootleggers to supplement depression income. Into this test environment comes Bolsheviks, determined to sabotage, undermine, attack, ...more
A Clive Custer novel is a, for me, a lot like comfort food. I expect adventure with a hint of historical fact to learn about, usually at a fast pace. The Isaac Bell series has delivered that again for me. This time, perhaps his most capable villainous opponent yet, someone ruthless enough to scare Prohibition era bootlegging outfits into either cooperation or extinction, an ego to become a kingpin in an era when gangsters were nearly royalty, and backed by a foreign government wanting to spread ...more
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This story takes place back in 1921, during the middle of Prohibition, and that is the story feature. Isaac Bell is a private detective employed by the Van Dorn Agency. When Mr. Van Dorn gets shot takes over the agency and the search for those responsible for the shooting.

The cars, the boats, and the guns compete for top honors with the story and its characters! This is a rip-roaring tale of bootleggers, gangsters, and Bolsheviks against Bell, his detectives, cops, Coasties, and Russian agents.
Vaughan Anscombe
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like the Isaac bell series.

another great tale for Isaac bell. And they feel fresh enough to me to carry on for a while. As much as I lived Dirk Pitt they have become samey as have Kurt Austin.
Bell doesn't have a side kick so you don't feel you are reading a generic drop the friends in an adventure novel substitute Kurt with Dirk or visa versa.
And the time period is an interesting one for this Britt.

Overall roll on the next one.
Sharon Gallup
Jun 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
this book reminded me of the t.v. series called THE UNTOUCHABLES. with the prohibition period of the 1920's . but mainly with the transporting of illegal of liquid on the rivers and lakes. a mystery boat that is there then is gone and leaves death all alone its way. the twist is with Russian leader and how he wants to disrupt the government. The search for the mystery boat leaves more and more death. i usually really enjoy Clive Cussler's mysteries but this one is certainly a man's book
Todd Schafer
Jan 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
Prohibition was the 18th Amendment. Makes you see the utter stupidity and the frank dangers that came about as a direct result of this new law. The criminal element descended almost immediately with the expected results.
Detroit was a major criminal hub during this time.
Fount out Cape Hateras was known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic (outside N Carolina).
First non Dirk Pitt book I read by Cussler, and I must say I prefer Dirk to this Isaac dude.
John Grazide
Nov 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Can't get over the action! These are non stop. This one has Isaac chasing a Russian Comintern who has his eyes on making money to fund the "cause". But the money from bootlegging during prohibition is too great. Isaac chases him out of New York then out of Detroit. With fast boats and flying planes it is a great fun read. Buckle up!
Ollie James
Jan 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Gangster, Pulp, Action and Adventure Fans.
Shelves: clive-cussler
My first book in the Isaac Bell series, I was excited to read due to my interest in that era in time in the country (1920's, Prohibition, Gangsters etc) and boy was I not disappointed. The book read like an excellent pulp and kept me turning the page long after sleep was calling me desperately. I can't wait to experience more adventures with the Van Dorn agency!
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Cussler began writing novels in 1965 and published his first work featuring his continuous series hero, Dirk Pitt, in 1973. His first non-fiction, The Sea Hunters, was released in 1996. The Board of Governors of the Maritime College, State University of New York, considered The Sea Hunters in lieu of a Ph.D. thesis and awarded Cussler a Doctor of Letters degree in May, 1997. It was the first time ...more

Other books in the series

Isaac Bell (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • The Chase (Isaac Bell, #1)
  • The Wrecker (Isaac Bell, #2)
  • The Spy (Isaac Bell, #3)
  • The Race (Isaac Bell, #4)
  • The Thief (Isaac Bell, #5)
  • The Striker (Isaac Bell, #6)
  • The Assassin (Isaac Bell, #8)
  • The Gangster (Isaac Bell, #9)
  • The Cutthroat (Isaac Bell, #10)
  • The Titanic Secret (Isaac Bell, #11)

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