It's 1990 in New York City. The AIDS pandemic is raging, murder is at an all-time high, an arsonist burns 87 people to death in a Bronx social club, and garbage and graffiti overwhelm the city. Though a sense of lawlessness pervade the city, being a gangster just isn’t the same anymore. In fact, it may be the twilight of the Italian mob: Under pressure from the feds and their loss of new recruits, the real menace facing them is the other ethnic gangs that are encroaching on their territory—in particular the Chinese.
“Little” Enzo DeCarlo, son and heir to the once-mighty DeCarlo mafia family, lives perpetually under his father’s shadow; Don Vincenzo DeCarlo is an old-school mobster who desperately clings to the old ways, despite the erosion of the family’s business interests by New York’s Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean gangs. Although he harbors doubts about the future of the family, Enzo works diligently as an enforcer, along with his closest friend and son of the Don’s consigliere, Rico “The Pox” Corozzio.
Enzo crosses paths with the beautiful Jen Mo Li, daughter of a powerful Chinese property magnate, and is instantly smitten. He doesn’t know who she is, nor that she’s a “snakehead,” working for her family “helping” paying illegal Chinese immigrants into the US.
Despite her undeniable skills in running the clandestine trafficking business, Jen’s father adheres to the traditional Chinese attitude that women are unimportant, second class, and favors her two brothers over her. This leads to bad feelings on Jen’s part, which come to a head when her beloved older brother, Danny, is killed by Enzo and her father tells her he’d rather she’d died than his son. Disenfranchised, Jen is drawn into the Black Dragon gang by its charismatic leader, David “Meathead” Cheung, where she is tasked with shipping in immigrants to populate the gang’s burgeoning sex trade business.
Enzo persistently pursues Jen and, despite her reluctance to go against her culture, she begins to fall for the handsome Italian; their love is sealed one night following a violent clash between the Black Dragons and the DeCarlo gang.
Enzo and Jen are forced to keep their relationship secret from both families, and Enzo is pressured by Vincenzo to marry Giuseppe “Big Joe” Taccetta’s daughter to cement the two mafia families in business. Driven by the need to prove herself, pulled into the Black Dragons’ exploitation, Jen becomes further twisted by her success and takes a risk on using a boat she won in a card game during a recruitment trip to China.
Inevitably, Jen falls pregnant, which adds strain to her secretive relationship with Enzo. An assassination attempt ordered by Cheung just after she gives birth to her son, Nicky. The killers are thwarted by Enzo, and the incident pushes Jen to murder the gang leader, take his place as leader of the Black Dragons, and lay blame with a rival Chinese gang. This act leads to a violence and bloodshed on Chinatown’s streets as the two gangs clash – the Dragons obliterate their rivals.
Jen’s victory is short-lived as her boat capsizes in New York Harbor and, among the many drowned immigrants is one with Jen’s phone number. Jen is targeted by the media and the authorities, and Enzo finally discovers who she really is. Vincenzo discovers his son’s illicit relationship and demands it is ended and that the child be raised as a DeCarlo, even though he is half Chinese. Heartbroken by finding out who/what Jen really is, Enzo snatches his son and threatens her to stay away.
As the Black Dragons are rounded up by the police, Jen throws herself on the mercy of “Big D” Luen Yang, leader of the rival gang, and pays him everything she has to get her to China on one of his trafficking boats...
"Mayhem on Mulberry: Book One" will appeal to readers of: The Godfather" by Mario Puzo "Out" by Natsuo Kirino "The Marriage Contract" (The O'Malleys series) by Katee Robert "The Cartel" by Ashley Antoinette, JaQuavis Coleman