The Last Nightingale – Anthony Flacco

The Last Nightingale is a 12 year old boy, Shane, adopted by the Nightingale family from a home for orphans and delinquents run by a less than honorable Friar and his helpers. The novel opens in 1906 as the Great Earthquake devastates San Francisco. Shane is shut up in the pantry while a crazy man violently tortures and murders his adoptive mother and sisters, chattering the whole time and leaving their bodies under furniture so that it looks like the earthquake got them. Neither of them know this, but Shane has a momentous encounter with Sergeant Blackburn and a series of odd and unexpected events with throw them together in the city just moving along day to day in the aftermath of devastation. Shane was traumatized by the murders and by his own failure to come out of hiding and trying to save his family. Flacco creates a wonderful group of characters remaining in the decimated police department. Blackburn is the guy who makes others bad by actually working hard at his job, so he is forced to work midnights in the unsavory Barbary Coast neighborhood. No one is sure how the various acts of graft and corruption will continue. A wealthy orphan with some very strange proclivities is planning his next moves against perceived enemies.. A girl from the orphanage remembers Shane and now knows he survived. Can she find him? The underbelly of the city comes alive as do the necessary machinations for those in power to right the system and restore the status quo. The writing is atmospheric and paints a fascinating story of loss and poverty and crime that goes on because it is opportunistic to accelerate when no one is watching. Great story, well plotted. Stayed up till 3 am to finish on Day Light Savings night. Looking forward to the next book in the series.#

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