Monday, February 6, 2012

BOCA DAZE - Steven Forman

First Line: "The Japanese war flag...sixteen red rays bursting from a rising sun in a field of white...flew over the coral island of Tarawa."

In the third novel of the Boca Knights series, Eddie Perlmutter finds himself investigating illegal pill mills, the death of a homeless man and a financial scammer. His reputation - both as the "Boca Knight" and as a former Boston police detective - helps open doors and make things happen. But his reputation can do nothing to smooth the way with his biggest challenge - erectile dysfunction (I really never thought I'd be typing that into a book review, but hey, this genre is full of surprises). Eddie faces some of the most heartless villains and those close to him could be prime targets.

While BOCA DAZE is the third book in Steven Forman's series, this is my first dance with Eddie Perlmutter. It wasn't difficult to pick up the third book, but I'm sure I'd understand some secondary elements better had I read the first two books before this one. Regardless BOCA DAZE was an entertaining reading experience.

Forman's humor is a stand-out quality for BOCA DAZE. He's rather daringly chosen a retirement-age hero, and he mocks everything stereotypical about the Florida retirement community: from driving to bed times to pastimes. His characters are quirky and spunky and endearing. Eddie Perlmutter doesn't fancy himself a super hero. Rather he's an average retired police detective who wants to help make the world he lives in a better place. He fights for the underdog; you don't have to be ravishingly handsome or unbelievably strong to win the hearts of readers when you're standing up for those who can't stand up for themselves.

Forman's depiction of the homeless is well crafted. The care he takes in extracting the humanity of Bailey adds an extra depth to the overall plot. But he also doesn't treat her with kid gloves. Bailey doesn't escape the target of Forman's humor, nor does Forman excuse her from her own responsibilities. Instead, he shows the whole person and readers can't help but cheer her on right alongside Eddie.

BOCA DAZE is a careful blend of comedy and serious current issues. The humor doesn't downplay  the severity of homelessness, pill mills, theft, etc. Instead it balances out the range of emotions the reader will experience in the pages of the book. A serious look at a world that still has a glimmer of hope shining through. Through Eddie Perlmutter readers are reminded that we can find heroes in the most unlikely places and in the most unlikely skins. Like Jerry Small readers will find themselves unable to resist the urge to "aid and abet an idiot" because Eddie is irresistible.

BOCA DAZE is available in hardcover (ISBN: 9780765328762) from Forge.

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