“If you believe the papers, we sprang from thin air in 1924. At the time, people started turning up dead in Detroit—which was nothing new, even back then. But when twenty Jewish men get put on the spot in three days, it gets noticed. They blamed it on us, but the truth is not one of those crimes was committed by the Purples. Technically speaking.”
Shunned by his community... locked up for trying to help an innocent girl... ambushed by rivals and left for dead in the Detroit River: Joe Bernstein has a few scores to settle, and a bold plan to seize control of the Motor City in its booming 1920s heyday. With his faithful “agent” Abie, his brilliant but fragile brother Max, and an out-of-control enforcer named Grabowski (not to mention a couple of carnivorous creatures known as "the babies"), Bernstein gives rise to the infamous Purple Gang—so named by local merchants because the gang's members were said to be "tainted, like spoiled meat."
Bernstein's boys set their sights on taking over the Detroit River, the pipeline connecting dry America to wet Canada. But Joe also must contend with having “a sweetheart in the nut house” and rising tensions within his gang. Worst of all, the D.A.”s office has brought in an amputee war hero named Riley—who seems to be one step ahead of Joe”s big plans.
A fast-paced thriller that builds to the climactic Collingwood Massacre (a seminal event that changed Detroit forever), THE PURPLES blends richly-detailed historical fiction with nonstop action, all narrated in the wry voice of the smart, self-deluding, and unforgettable Joe Bernstein.
“Corruption in 1920s Detroit is brought to life in vivid detail in this accomplished book.” —Publishers Weekly
“Fast-moving and funny, The Purples has a hard edge, a soft heart, and an original voice.” —Michael Balkind, Sudden Death
W. K. Berger is an award-winning journalist and author whose work has been featured in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, and Esquire. His books have been published internationally by Penguin and Random House.
Read a free excerpt at ThePurplesBook.com/Excerpt