Tag Archives: pulp noir

Killer with a Heart (Killers Book 1) by J.L. Hill Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

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The gritty streets of 1970s New York comes under fire when rival gangs and mobsters find themselves locked into a gang war that will soak the streets in blood in author J.L. Hill’s “Killer with a Heart”, the first book in the Killers series. 


The Synopsis

Explore the workings of criminal masterminds in Killer With A Heart, a captivating action and suspense novel. In this heart-pounding tale, you will be taken to the feisty and intriguing world of the mafia. Discover the exhilarating turn of events as gangs struggle to rise up to power, a mafia boss craves for a beautiful sexy firebrand and an upcoming mob war unleashes hell’s fire on the streets of New York. An intoxicating must-read that will keep you hanging on the edges of your seats, this work features a dark, dangerous and deviant setting in which everything is not what it seems.

A raw in your face story of teenage love, lust, murder, and revenge set in the Bronx in the early seventies, where the cold business world of organize crime melds with the brutality of street gang warlords that ignites a winner takes all battle for underworld control.

Nicky ‘Nails’ Rocci’s gang is thick as thieves, but stealing mob money leads to murder. However, failing to kill Morris ‘Mojo’ Johnson is a costly mistake for the Banoa family that adds to Morris’ mystique.

Maria Marino is a bewitching beauty, a sexy firebrand that has captured the heart of the feared warlord, Morris.

Joey Banoa’s lust for Maria, Morris Johnson’s desire for vengeance, and Nicky’s aspirations to lead his gang to the top of the criminal scene will ignite a mob war and unleash Hellfire on the streets of New York.

Mafia Book Portrays the Deviant Face of Sex, Drugs and Violence. With an eclectic blend of romance, deception and seduction set in the elusive and complicated world of mob rule, this story leads one out of the complacency of ignorance and sets awareness on what truly goes on in an unconventional world, where money, power, and vengeance become the ultimate dictator of human survival. Employing a fascinating set of diverse characters, this story reflects how interracial influences come into play in a setting where connections and alliances are put on high regard. This work shows how people of different backgrounds can come together for a common goal, demonstrating how they forge a true friendship at a time when interracial relations were taboo.

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The Review

As someone who has read the other books in this series as standalone stories, this first entry in the series not only provides some much-appreciated background info but allows the reader to connect the series into a more cohesive story. The author does a great job of establishing this world of mobsters and gangsters, bringing the seedy underworld of 70s-era New York City to a gritty pulp noir genre setting. The reader will definitely need to know about some of the more abrasive and harsh language used by all of the characters in this book, as racism, sexism, and violence run more rampant than ever before. 

The character development was entirely engaging in this book and helped to cement the action and suspense that this crime thriller brought to life. There was definitely a great establishment of iconic storytelling elements within this noir, from the conflict brewing between this gang and mob factions, the beautiful woman who has captured the attention of two rival gang leaders, and the brutality that each leader finds themselves capable of helps to establish the brutal future of these prominent characters in the series.

The Verdict

Memorable, visceral, and entertaining, author J.L. Hill’s “Killer with a Heart” is a fantastic start to this crime thriller series and a must-read for any fans of pulp noir era crime stories. The brutal reality of both the violence and societal aspects of life in the mob and gangs elevated the romance and action that brewed in this gripping thriller, making this a book readers won’t be able to put down. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author


A native New Yorker, born and raised in the Bronx, James L Hill spent his adolescence years in Fort Apache, the South Bronx 41st precinct during the 60’s, during a time when you needed to have a gang to go to the store. Raised on blues, soul, and rock and roll gave him the heart of a flower child. Educated by the turmoil of Vietnam, Civil Rights, and the Sexual Revolution produced a gladiator. Realizing the precariousness of life gave him an adventurous outlook and willingness to try anything once, and if it did not kill him, maybe twice. 12 years of Catholic education and a couple of years in college spread between wild drug induce euphoric years, which did not kill him, gave James an unique moral compass that swings in any direction it wants. A scientific mind and a spirit that believes nothing is impossible if you want it bad enough guides his writings. He enjoys traveling to new places and seeing what life has to offer. James began writing short stories and poetry back in his early years. In his twenties moved on to novels. He worked in the financial industry and later got a degree in computer programming, his other love. James has a successful career as a software engineer designing, developing and maintaining systems for the government and the private sector. He has been programming for nearly forty years in various languages. After years in the computer world he returned to his first love, unleashing the characters in his head. Still a hopeless insomniac, he feels free to pound out plots. James L Hill is a prolific storyteller writing crime stories, fantasies, and science fiction, with a slant on the dark side of life. The next step on his journey naturally led to the business of publishing. He started RockHill Publishing LLC not only to produce his own work, but to give others access to the literary world. His computer background and experiences in word processing gives him insight into what it takes to publish good books.