A thriller about the exciting rise and fall of the Purple Gang in 1920s Detroit.

Joe On August - 1 - 2010

“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 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. *

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Word on the street

I can only imagine what the Detroit papers will eventually have to say about us Purples, but these reviews will have to do for now.


Plot summary

Shunned by our community… locked up for helping an innocent girl… ambushed by rivals and left for dead in the Detroit River: Yeah, there are a few plots to summarize. Read more…

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Why purple?

People will always try to label you. We wore it like a badge of honor.

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Jailhouse Rock

I could tell straight off that Presley was a hick and he was full of questions, two things I don’t like.

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Good old Detroit

Someone has to tell the truth about what happened in Detroit back in the days when it still mattered what happened in Detroit.


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