A black man goes against the heavy names in mafia-New York to hold on to his Harlem territory. Bumpy is a convicted killer who just got out of prison and goes back to a life of crime in Harlem. The Queen, the leading numbers racket boss hires him as her muscleman and collector. The numbers business is earning so much, it has attracted the attention of the Italian mob, headed by Lucky Luciano. Dutch, who is a hot-tempered and barbaric associate of his tries to get a piece of the business, however, Bumpy, who feels that the business should solely be in black Harlem's control, stands his ground in keeping what's theirs, theirs.
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The Italian mob attempt to rub out The Queen in a scary shootout, but she escapes, with Bumpy's help. Dutch is hell-bent on taking The Queen out, so he bribes a prosecutor instead to have The Queen imprisoned. The Queen leaves the keys to her kingdom to Bumpy. Both camps go about their collections, and fight force with force. Dutch is quick to eliminate anyone in his way, and does not hesitate maiming or killing people on the spot. He is the opposite of Bumpy's cool brewing anger. Bumpy one time blows up Dutch's alcohol warehouse, furthering their cycle of revenge.
The rivalry continues, and more casualties are met. One of them is a young numbers runner, another is Bumpy's best friend Illinois' wife and later, Illinois himself. Bumpy struggles to keep his marriage to Francine, who later leaves him out of disgust at his chosen job. The war is getting out of hand and Luciano intervenes himself to find a middle ground for the two, neither one wants to give in. Illinois, who was tortured and killed with a corkscrew becomes the final straw for Bumpy. Luciano agrees to Bumpy's plan of killing Dutch. Bumpy leaks information of the kill to Luciano's driver who in turn leaks it to Dutch. This is all part of the plan, to give Dutch the impression that he's in control and for him not to suspect anything. However, at a restaurant, Dutch's aide Lulu is contracted to kill Dutch and shoots him in the restroom. Lulu is later shot in Luciano's car. Bumpy is back in control, however, he is so far gone in his life of crime and violence, he retreats to his best friend's funeral knowing that he chose this path to destruction from the start.
Best part of story, including ending:
It's based on real-life people, particularly Bumpy, The Queen, Luciano, and The Dutchman. It was noteworthy to watch Harlem's depression-era history, and how the neighborhood was coveted by the NY mob bosses.
Best scene in story:
The Opera scene, bullets shooting everywhere, played to aria music.
Opinion about the main character:
I honestly think that Bumpy never had any questions about his morality since he set out for a life of crime even after incarceration. So all the casualties he suffered I feel he truly deserved.