Kill the Lights: David Wahlberg
Fashion Week is exciting and I for one would love to attend one just to see all of the great fashions for upcoming season and to meet the great designers. But, would you be able to tell the real from the fake? What happens when someone is producing knock offs or counterfeits and is trying to sell them as the real thing? What happens when those that are trying to make a living find themselves short circuited on the runway and need help to just survive? What happens when things get out of hand in Venice Beach and there is a murder close by in Fat Man’s Cove? Just how does this all link together: Kill the Lights: David Wahberg: Read More
As the novel opens we meet Ty Malone and a cast of characters that are quite unique as they discuss a rape and murder that takes place on Venice Beach. Martha, the oldest member of this group reflects on the fact that the area is not safe and that vigilante justice might be the answer. Ty is the owner of two-story office complex whose residents are anything but straight. Called the Rose and the tenants there have a unique and odd relationship to him. Although kept up in a strange way, he manages to try and raise rents, care for the property and deal with whatever else comes along. The brutal murder of a young girl screams for more than just the police looking into the case. Discussing the murder at hand they realize that by the time the police take action it might be too late for someone else. As we get to know more about Ty we realize that he is not your typical detective and is involved in many types of activities because of his family and his ties to the community. Ty Malone has a special relationship with Martha and his Uncle Rocco who is about to enlist his help with a special project that he is working on. This story centers primarily on the fashion industry and when Ty meets with a man named Al Martinelli he learns that someone is creating fakes and it has to be stopped. Added in we meet two Latvian thugs who are after Al and threaten him even with Ty there. Imagine going to a fashion show where some of the models wear the original designs and someone dressed to look like this model or their twin a knock off. Within this story we also learn about his girlfriend Myrna and not only his aunt and uncle but others are trying to convince him to take things further. But, Myrna is a fashion model hired by his uncle and right now her career is her primary concern. So, where will this lead and just how dangerous will this get remains to be seen as we attend a union rally with Ty and Al. We learn more about his Uncle’s business dealings and the author shares the underlying and hidden truths about his office building, how and why he raises rent, money laundering and much more.
Told in a narrative form by Ty himself he relates the events as they happen in his own voice for readers to get to know him, how he operates and to hear what happens first hand. With the aide of Malcolm Wright he hopes to enlist his help to create the knock off jewelry and how he creates the real pieces. Added in we meet Sweetlips his dog who everyone loves or most everyone loves minus Myrna. Tyrone Malone is an interesting character that does not back off from a challenge determined to help his Uncle Rocco and to find out more about the counterfeits being created and passed around. Protection is the name of part of this game but when Ty returns home to collect his dog from a neighbor what he sees alerts him to know that someone wants him stopped and that he needs to pay closer attention to what is about to happen to not only his uncle but to others too.
Enter the world of fashion, sweat shops, money laundering, counterfeits, and knockoffs and learn what really happens when someone gets too close and others want to take it all. One man is severely injured when trying to unionize a shop; another wants control of more than just the workers as prostitution comes into play. Girls for hire, sale, the rich on the take one woman who seems to dominate it all as they attend a special party to show off this movie starlet and the necklace that someone will wear in the fashion show. One store that houses girls for more than just their sewing skills and when Ty realizes what lies behind the doors he does his best to infiltrate and learn more about the men in charge.
When they finally find a twin for Myrna just how is she connected to the mob, the counterfeiters and the thieves? Not everyone is who they seem to be and illusions are created as Ty tries to beat the clock to find out the mastermind behind the operation, who tried to kill Al Martinelli, work with the police to learn more and hopefully save the fashion show. With his Uncle Nick’s help, Martha’s friend Franco watching his back and a cast of tough guys, mob men, Latvians who can’t seem to keep it straight what will the end result be and what will happen at the fashion show. A diamond necklace worth millions and a copy worth thousands who can tell the difference and will someone succeed in stealing it. Does the owner really care or is the money the main draw for lending it? What would happen if it were really stolen and who is the Dragon Lady that is hiding behind the scenes and what is her role?
Fashion models hoping to become stars on the runway. Others who are illegally here, earning not much and being exploited in more ways that you can imagine, author David Wahlberg gives readers a real inside look at the world of fashion and the corruption attached to it. A Dragon Lady, the Russian Mafia, Latvian Mafia, insurance scam and fraud, offshore deposits that are not legal and if the necklace is stolen the insurance company is out five million dollars. Who else profits if the necklace is stolen? Wait and see!
One friend who created the copy of the necklace and another who sponsored the fashion show as we meet Leonard who is in charge of the show and making sure that the necklace for Anne Lorentine is kept safe. Fabricated by the Fortague jewelry shop it is quite coveted by others. Enter Lannie Montgomery; Myrna’s twin brought in by Luzarre a major player in this and someone quite dangerous, as you will learn. Luzarre wants control of the workers at one shop and he uses them for more than just sewing as we find out when Ty gets closer to Lannie and he sees the end result for himself. Leonard creates the knockoffs and Luzarre is his competition but how this all plays out we will learn at the fashion show. The author continues by describing to readers the definition of gray goods and the seedy and underhanded world behind the doors of Brenegers. What Ty sees first hand is disturbing but not being able to do much about it even more.
We learn more about Leonard and how these knockoffs would increase his sales but there are others who claim their knockoffs are the real thing and sell them to the naïve public. Malcolm Wright I should add is an expert in appraising jewelry when dealing with probate, insurance companies and collectors. Put all of these players in one room and you enter the party of one man named D’Arte and what happens between him and Ty is just priceless.
The players come together and Ty has a plan to take them down. Just who owns the fake necklace and will the real one be stolen with they kill the lights before the end of the show? One man who is a fashion designer and another an advertising manager with a secretary who reminds you of Cruella DeVil. Just who is the top guy and what about the sweatshops and the girls being used for other purposes? Who is allowing the counterfeits to be mixed in with the real items? Who is trying to pull insurance fraud? One store manager faces the consequences if Ty does not help him. Deceit, betrayals, lies, thieves, greed, treachery and a fashion show that is explosive. Kill the Lights: what happens when the lights are out, the necklace is gone? Ty places himself in danger, hopes to still find his real parents, listens to a story or fairytale told by Rike as the Prince Of Venice finds his place within the world and hopes to learn the true meaning of love. But, the author leaves the ending wide open as we learn more about who killed the young girl on the beach, the counterfeit ring, the prostitution business, the poor girls forced into slavery and the inside scoop on the fashion world. What is fact and what is fiction? You decide but watch out because you never know what will happen when They Kill the Lights! A definite must read and really quite enlightening. Tyrone Malone: Let’s hope the story continues.
Characters right out of a murder mystery and one detective that can roll rings around Magnum and Rockford. Author David Wahlberg definitely has a series character. Martha, the psychic, Malcolm, Leonard and Conway make up a cast that you definitely want to see more of.
Fran Lewis: reviewer