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The Bowery Slugger (Alex Cohen, #1)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  71 ratings  ·  32 reviews
A turn-of-the-century Jewish boy punches his way into the gangs of New York.

When Alex Cohen arrives in 1915 America, he seizes the land of opportunity with both hands and grabs it by the throat. But success breeds distrust and Alex must choose between controlling his gang and keeping his friend alive. What would you do if the person you trusted most is setting you up to di
Kindle Edition, 357 pages
Published November 10th 2019 by Sobriety Press
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Dash fan
4☆ A Gritty and Authentic Historical Crime Fiction !

This is the first book in a gritty new series and I'm excited to read the next one!

The Bowery Slugger is a character driven story that's takes the reader on a dark and gritty journey that looks into immigration, survival, Jewish mobsters, life choices, new starts, making a reputation, falling in love.

Alex and his family arrive in New York as Jewish immigrants, with no job Alex starts to look to find work to support his parents.

But it's not easy
Jacqueline  sharp
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Check out my blog for full review
Rowena Andrews
Jan 11, 2021 rated it liked it
In typical fashion, I actually read this one - the first in the series - last. The Bowery Slugger is a little slow to get off the ground, but I largely put that down to this being the first book and having to lay the groundwork for the characters, especially Alex and his arrival in America and finding his feet there and once again Borstinski's research and attention to detail shine through, creating a vivid, breathing backdrop to the rest of the story. One minor complaint at the beginning of thi ...more
Stéphanie Louis
The full review has been published on my blog: https://phanniethegingerbookworm.word...
DISCLAIMER: A review copy of this book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own!

What I liked

The problem with a book by an author you‘ve never read before is that you don‘t know what to expect. But I can say that my reading experience was pretty great so my worries were unnecessary.

So what did I like? First, I loved his writing style. It was perfect and The Bower Slugger was wel
Colin Garrow
May 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Arriving in America in 1915, Alex Cohen is tagged with an unusual name, courtesy of a dull-witted official. Moving into a tenement apartment with his family, Alex’s reputation as a fighter (Slugger) secures him work in one of the many gangs who use extortion and muscle to make their money.

This is book 1 in the Alex Cohen series and the first of this author’s books I’ve read. Charting the rise of an immigrant into the Jewish New York mob, there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with the story, but it
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It is set in 1915 and I arrived to this story as Alex Cohen arrives in America. He and his family settle and Alex finds himself a job, he starts at the bottom and gradually over the next few months he starts to climb the ladder.

This is a belter of a read and if, like me, you read and loved “Gangs of New York, then you are going to love The Bowery Slugger. It is the the story of a young man who finds himself working for the Jewish Mob. This kind of caught me unawares as I tend to think of this be
Dec 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the first book in a brand new series from Leopold Borstinski. Whilst I have read previous books by this author before, I have never read one of an American gangster genre so I jumped at the opportunity.

Alex and his family left their old home, and his questionable employment to create a new and better life for themselves and a chance for Alex to go straight in the land of opportunity, America.

Landing in New York they quickly find that this is not the case and Alex is drawn back into crimi
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Bowery Slugger is the first book I've read by Leopold Borstinski but it definitely won't be the last!

The year is 1915 and Alex and his Jewish family have travelled to America from Ukraine in search of a safer and better life. The family have very little but manage to find somewhere to live in a tenement and teenage Alex quickly falls in with one of the gangs in The Bowery. This means that he is able to support his family but he tells his family very little about his 'work' as he knows that t
Namrata Ganti
Nov 09, 2019 rated it liked it
The Bowery Slugger follows the life of Alex as he steps off a boat and onto American soil. This is a well-written story set during the onset of World War I, bringing the reader to a small part of the world and it's inhabitants. Alex, in his teenage years, is smart and ruthless, grabbing opportunities and finding his way forward. We are introduced to the Jewish New York mob and how it is run. We meet some very interesting people who add different views and dimensions to this story.

The story is fa
Daniel B.
Jul 23, 2020 rated it it was ok
I'm a sucker for Amazon's algorithms. If you feed in "hard boiled" and "historical fiction," it'll rope me in every time. Thus it was that Leopold Borstinski's amateurish, self-published novel, which mean the same thing in this case, landed on my book pile. "The Bowery Slugger" features a repellent, sociopathic protagonist, paint-by-numbers characterizations, a plot woven of gossamer, and the lamest attempts at period authenticity since Edward Bulwer-Lytton. Thus it has landed in my dustbin. Yet ...more
Nov 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
New York, 1915: Alex Cohen and his family have fled yet another rising tide of violence against Jewish people in the Ukraine, looking for a new start in the land of opportunity.

Misnamed Fabian Mustard on their arrival at Ellis Island, Alex is forced to look for a way to support his parents and siblings, as the struggle to find gainful employment is harder than they anticipated. He finds himself drawn back into the criminal life he was embroiled in back home, by his new best friend Sammy, despite
Alexandra Mack
Nov 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
This addictive book kicks of Alex’s journey in New York. Alex is known by many names, Slugger, Fabian, and Alex, all parts that make up his persona around New York City. Some know him as Alex, the sweet boy trying to court the girl he likes. And Fabian/Slugger, the man with street cred who makes sure that people pay their gang protection payments on time.

I finished this book over a few days, despite being absolutely bogged down with college work. I just had to finish it and find out what happen
Frankie (Chicks, Rogues and Scandals)
The first book in the series catches the imagination and ensures from page one you will be forever waiting for the next Alex Cohen instalment.

The Bowery Slugger opens with aplomb, it’s violent and instantly memorable, we first meet Alex Cohen when his family have made the trip to change their stars in America, he instantly realises that reality doesn’t always match up to the dream and he must rely on his own initiative, his own unique set of skills to provide for his family as it becomes clear i
Nov 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the first of Borstinski’s books that I’ve read, and I must tell you … he’s a fine storyteller! I would go so far as to say that there’s something a little reminiscent of Jeffrey Archer in the way he weaves a tale!

The Bowery Slugger is the first in a new series about Alex Cohen a.k.a. Fabian Mustard a.k.a. Slugger. In 1915, Alex arrives in New York with his parents and sister from the Ukraine to escape the rising violent anti-Semitism there. Along with many other confused and overwhelmed
Oct 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
the story of a young man who did what was necessary to survive the early gangs and streets of NYC.
At times rough and violent but also poignant and heartful, rich with family traditions of the Jewish peoples and similar to other ethic backgrounds. It hit a chord in me- i was surpised as i dont usually read these types on novels anymore BUT I ENJOYED IT!!!
The P.Turners
Please see blog for [K]'s review: https://thepturnersbookblog.wordpress... ...more
Melanie Underwood
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The first in a series, this is a fascinating tale of life in the Jewish gangs of early twentieth century New York. A gripping story of crime and violence in the underworld - this was a real eye-opener and a compelling read.
Sep 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
He has arrived in the city where he hopes to make something of himself. He is in a gang and has a close friend. Will he give his friend up to keep what he has gained? See if he will

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Nov 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
I couldn’t finish it. After about three hours I shut it down. The main character was a bit of a shit. A real nasty character. As I always put myself in the shoes of the hero I couldn’t continue. He was no hero that’s for sure. Very well written I must say but just not for me.
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
All of my reviews can be found at

The Bowery Slugger is the first book in the Alex Cohen series by Leopold Borstinski and was published on 10th November 2019 by Sobriety Press. I received a free eARC of The Bowery Slugger but that has in no way influenced my review.

I occasionally indulge in a little historical crime fiction. Not often enough though, not as frequently as I would like. Which was why I was so excited to make a start on The Bowery Slugger. Set in the 1910s, T
Jean Marcotte
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
Great book.
Patrice Gotting
Oct 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Actual rating 3.5 x
Cheryl M-M
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Let's be honest - Alex Cohen aka Fabian Mustard isn't exactly the kind of character the reader feels any kind of empathy with or sympathy for. Does he have any redeeming qualities? I think the one consistent positive quality is the way he supports his family and ensures that they stay both safe and have a roof over their head.

It certainly isn't loyalty to his fellow comrades, because his loyalty only reaches as far as his own financial gain or territory, and when they are under threat he doesn't
Alaknanda Agarwal
Nov 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Read full review here .

Alex Cohen had a keen eye, quick hands and a sharp mind, and he rose up the ranks in Waxey Gordon’s gang fast. He also loved Rebecca, his simple downstairs neighbour, who wanted him to leave his gang life behind if he wanted to marry her. And wedged in between all this, is his trusted gang aide- Sammy, his go-to for female companionship- Sarah, his boss Waxey, and his crew. This story is all about Alex.

Alex’s character is very well made up by Borstinski. Inspite of being i
Alex Jones
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the third book I’ve read this year by Leopold Borstinski, following reviews of The Heist and The Case.

This is quite different from both of those books and one I really enjoyed as we are introduced to Alex Cohen, a young Jewish boy who arrives in America in 1915. With his family struggling for work and money to pay the rent, Teenage Alex takes it upon himself to find some money for the family by any means necessary. This in turns introduces him to the street and gang life of New York.

Leah Ruth
Jan 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
Read my full review for the Alex Cohen series books 1-3 on my blog. ...more
Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Bowery Slugger is the first book in the Alex Cohen series and although I absolutely love historical fiction, I will admit that this is not my normal read in this genre. Having never read any previous books by this author I was not sure what to expect. That being said, I found that I flew through the book and I was hooked from the beginning. Alex Cohen is a Jewish immigrant from the Ukraine and he immediately falls in with the gangs of the Bowery, working his way up the chain quite quickly. N ...more
Ann Keeran
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Historical fiction at its best. Borstinski brings to life the members of the different gangs in New York before WWII. Alex Cohen is a character to follow.
Pat Eroh
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a fabulous book that is excellently-written. Alex is a great character and all characters are really well-developed and realistic. This is the first in a series and I hope to read the rest of the series.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Nov 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Actual rating: 3,5
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