The two books that together become Young Tom Hickey are the harrowing story of a talented brother and gifted sister attempting to make good in early 20th century of Los Angeles. This is hardly easy, given World War I, the wild and violent prohibition era, the Great Depression, and the fact that their father went missing when they were little and their mother is mad.

a brother and sister love story

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Book 1, The Biggest Liar in Los Angeles, begins with a lynching in Echo Park, only yards from Sister Aimee Semple McPherson’s Angelus Temple. The victim is a dear friend of Tom Hickey, whose distress is aggravated because the police and popular media deny the lynching occurred. SoTom, a former USC fullback who has dropped out of college to support his kid sister, and who now leads a dance orchestra evenings and works days selling meat, adds to his jobs the pursuit of killers.

What, liars in Los Angeles?

Book 2, The Good Know Nothing, unfolds during summer of 1936, while destitute farmers from the Dust Bowl swarm into California. An old friend brings L.A. police detective Tom Hickey a book manuscript, a clue to the mystery of his their father’s long-ago disappearance. Though the pursuit of answers may cost him his wife and daughter, Tom and his sister Florence set off on an odyssey that will pit them against a cast of formidable characters; perhaps the most dangerous an outlaw rumored to be the aging Sundance Kid, and publisher William Randolph Hearst, who may well be the most world’s most powerful man.

Or maybe we all know nothing.