“John Jeffire’s brilliant new novel River Rouge takes readers on a riveting journey into the ‘heart of darkness’ of Henry Ford’s dream and the gritty beginnings of America’s working class nightmare. Jeffire’s rich early history of Detroit includes a breathtaking story that will keep readers on the edges of their seats as the novel travels through early Detroit gangster culture, the exploitation of immigrant workers’ at The Rouge, and a wild plot twist that involves DIA Muralist Diego Rivera and his radical artist wife Frida Kahlo. River Rouge is an engaging novel that brings Detroit’s history and the true grit of Detroit’s working class struggles together in one of the finest novels to be written to date about The Motor City. Jeffire’s poetic sensibilities weave an exquisite tale that readers will not soon forget.”
—M.L. Liebler, author of Wide Awake in Someone Else’s Dream
“John Jeffire’s River Rouge is a wild ride through Depression-era Detroit, bringing to life such diverse local and international legends as Diego Rivera and the Purple Gang, the Rouge Plant and Harry Bennett, all bound together by a humble Armenian immigrant just trying to survive. Jeffire pumps passion and life into history here with the punchy dialogue and wit that only a Detroiter can bring to this material.”
—Jim Daniels, author of Eight Mile High
“John Jeffire combines the notorious Purple Gang and Diego Rivera, creator of the iconic Detroit Industry mural, to make art from art. With grab-hold wit Jeffire pulls the workers off the DIA wall and into the fires of his prose. Jeffire summons the images, idioms and cadences of bootleggers and extortionists. Even the infamous union-buster Harry Bennett shows up. Jeffire grabs hold all the levers of industry to create a gripping story that makes so much sense you’re certain it’s all true.”
—Joy Gaines-Friedler, author of Dutiful Heart
Haik Pehlivanian runs the violent streets of Detroit with the murderous Purple Gang and later raids boxcars for food in the city’s trainyards just to survive. In a stroke of luck, he is recruited into Henry Ford’s infamous “Service Department,” run by Harry Bennett, the former boxer and thug hired to break unions. Later he is assigned to escort world-renowned artist Diego Rivera, who has been commissioned by Edsel Ford to complete a series of murals at the Detroit Institute of Arts, and soon Haik and Rivera concoct a plan to steal a brand new ‘32 Ford Deuce Coupe. Will Bennett catch on to Haik and make him “disappear?” Can Haik trust the impish, outlandish Rivera? Will Rivera’s wife Frida Kahlo destroy both her own marriage and Haik’s? Read River Rouge and find out.
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