Eddie Perlmutter is capable of fighting with fearless frenzy, but only does so to defend the defenseless. Eddie’s career as a much-honored Boston cop has come to an end. At sixty, he’s still energetic and virile, but decades of harsh New England winters and collaring the pug-uglies of Boston’s underworld have taken their toll—especially on his knees. So what does a lonely, retired cop with arthritic knees do? Head to sunny Florida, of course.
Country-club politics and early-bird specials are a far cry from the street toughs, scuffles, and arrests of his former life. But some things never change. Instead of enjoying a relaxed, laid-back retirement, Eddie quickly discovers the darker side of Boca Raton’s endless sun and palm trees, where hate crimes, counterfeiting, and worse lurk beneath the deceptively calm surface of cushy retirement communities.
I saw an advertisement for this on one of the Shelf Awareness newsletters, and since I thought it sounded good I decided to check it out. For a first novel, it’s not so bad!
Miss Marple Eddie is not. If you were expecting a sweet old man solving mysteries while trying to deal with arthritis, think again. Eddie Perlmutter is a foul-mouthed hothead, and he doesn’t take nothing from nobody. The first third of the book is spent setting up the background of Eddie’s life, including the very interesting of his grandfather. Then it focuses on Eddie’s move down to Boca Raton, the history behind the place and what sort of people live there. The mystery part doesn’t show up until page 103, but even then it doesn’t play a big role. Instead, the plot meanders from Eddie’s settling down in Boca Raton to his love life, his encounters with drug dealers, Neo-Nazis, snobs, and various conversations with his penis (which has calls Mr. Johnson).
It’s an interesting book, for sure. I liked Eddie, even though he talks to his penis like it’s a separate being from himself, and I liked some of the other people living in Boca Raton. I especially liked the history of Eddie’s family; his grandfather was so fascinating! I was a little sad he was gone from the story so quickly, but I understood why.
There is, of course, the problem of the huge difference between Eddie and myself that kept me from understanding him completely– he’s a 60-year-old retired Jewish cop from Boston, while I’m a 20-year-old college student living in New Mexico (and my genitals don’t talk to me)– but from what I did understand, I liked him.
The writing was pretty good; some parts of the dialogue seemed more realistic than others, but it conveyed the events clearly and it was good enough to keep me reading. There were a lot of infodumps, though, especially in the last half of the book. I learned more about Boca Raton, Haiti, Boston, the Aryan Nation, and busing than I learned in all my time in school. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or what.
Er, anyway. Like I said, Boca Knights is a good first novel, though not so much a mystery novel (nor a thriller, as the summary says, nor a crime caper, as another reviewer said). I do plan on reading the sequel Boca Mourning— I want to see who Eddie settles down with!
Read: February 2009