A Novel by Ed Brodow

The Story

Women From Venus
Four Short Novels

Fixer - A Novel by Ed Brodow Harry Leonnoff is born in 1883 to extreme poverty on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The son of Russian Jewish immigrants, he overcomes street violence, rampant anti-Semitism, and a crippling bout with polio. The key to surviving polio is a saintly medical man who tells Harry to have faith because ''The Lord will provide,'' a phrase that becomes Harry's mantra.

At the age of fifteen, Harry is shipped off to an upstate farm where he comes under the influence of a kindly Norwegian farmer, a seductive married woman, and a vicious anti-Semite who tries to kill Harry. Harry eventually returns to New York City where he becomes a law clerk and aide to Tammany Hall political leaders. He discovers that his passion is providing assistance to an underclass that is victimized by the city's power structure.

In 1912, Harry is attracted to a Broadway showgirl, whom he rescues from a frightening assailant and eventually marries. His nagging wife, who acquires the nickname The Commissioner, forces Harry to be more aggressive with his career. The mayor appoints him to the position of city marshal, a lucrative job that finances his wife's upwardly mobile ambitions while giving Harry the opportunity to help immigrants and the poor.

In 1917, a group of influential Jewish professionals enlists Harry to end the career of Dorsey Hogan, a rabble-rouser who incites crowds against Jews. Harry single-handedly confronts a mob of 20,000, overcomes the bigot's bodyguards, and arrests Hogan, who is given a stiff jail sentence. The incident brings Harry to public acclaim.

Harry moves his office to Brooklyn, where he becomes the power behind the throne in the Democratic Party. In the 1920s and 30s, he helps four New York mayors get elected and is appointed by Mayor Jimmy Walker as Chief Clerk of the Brooklyn Municipal Court. The leading business and political VIPs in Brooklyn form the Harry Leonnoff Association, a charitable organization that is dedicated to religious and racial tolerance. Through the association, Harry plays a critical role in the infamous Scottsboro Case. His efforts, especially the recruitment of famed defense attorney Samuel L. Liebowitz, lead to the vindication of nine innocent black men who are framed for allegedly raping two white women in Alabama.

In 1928, the disintegration of Harry's marriage leads him to fall in love with Marie DeSante, a beautiful call girl in New Orleans. Her attempt to go straight is threatened by Rick Duvalier, a vicious hoodlum and former client.

In 1938, a German Jewish couple is tortured by the Gestapo in Hamburg. They escape and flee on a ship to New York, where a dishonest State Department official wants to send them back to Germany. Harry Leonnoff discovers that the official has been extorting money from Jewish refugees. Harry confronts the man in an unusual negotiation.

In 1943, Harry testifies against Mayor Fiorello La Guardia in front of a grand jury that is investigating the crime situation in Brooklyn. When a vindictive La Guardia is censured by the grand jury, he blames Harry and sets him up to be dismissed from his job as chief clerk. Harry confronts the mayor, who refuses to admit that he has been looking for a way to get even with Harry since 1920, when Harry scored a victory in a political dispute between the two men.

Harry's psychotic brother-in-law, Willie Malakow, complicates the situation when he decides to save Harry's job by assassinating Mayor La Guardia. Malakow's mind has been distorted by his experiences as a U.S. Marine at the bloody World War I Battle of Belleau Wood. When Harry discovers Willie's intentions, he sits on the horns of a dilemma. If he allows Willie to murder La Guardia, Harry's job and reputation will be saved. If Harry stops Willie, he loses everything.

Harry's decision and its consequences form a riveting conclusion to a compelling story.

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