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

Our favorite haunt was Ten’s Spot, the top blind pig in Detroit for a time. The place was a hoot and was run by Tennessee Jenkins. Ten had smooth skin the color of coffee with cream and little lacquered sideburns that curled on her cheeks like question marks. She had style and guts. And she wore great hats. Some of my cohorts were leery of her at first—they weren’t used to a woman running anything in those days, and especially a dark woman. But I never had a problem with her or her kind—the way I see it they’re the only people who’ve got it even tougher than my people. What I liked best about Ten was that she took care of her business and stayed out of ours. Of course, I never did get what she saw in that Motormouth, Jerry Barkley. He brought her trinkets and baubles, but he also brought her a hell of a lot of trouble she didn’t deserve.

When I hear this tune, it brings to mind good times at Ten’s Spot, with horns blowing, booze flowing, and Ten bopping from table to table to make sure everyone was wet and happy.

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Back stabbings • Elvis Presley • Good old Detroit • Harry Riley • Henry Ford • Mazel tough • Rachel and the Palmer Raids • Saying bad things? • The babies • Why purple? • WWJBD? • Buy the book
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Awards for The Purples

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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.

Elvis button

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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