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Monday, 2 March, 2009 7:09 PM
Book Review: 'Boca Knights' is a fairly interesting story
Photo credit: www.amazon.com
Boca Knights might well personify a few different pieces of the literary movement. Whether or not this is a good thing I leave up to the reader.
Boca Knights is all about a Bostonian supercop with an interesting family history. How interesting? How about so interesting that his grandfather managed to come to America using papers and wearing clothes taken off a dead man, that's how interesting. Anyway, our Bostonian supercop starts aging, and due to his history as a boxer, finds the cold winters of Boston wearing heavily on his aging, arthritic joints and bones. It's suggested to him that he move down to Florida, specifically, Boca Raton, where the climate is much more agreeable on old bones. But while he's down there, he discovers that the supercop lifestyle doesn't necessarily die off because you retire...or because you move.
So when I say that it's the personification of a couple things, here's what I mean.
One, it's the personification of pandering. It sure seems clear here that Forman was trying to get appeal going in Boca Raton. He describes it so lovingly, even giving the former mayor of Boca Raton, Steven Abrams, a guest cameo appearance. Forman got something out of that deal, sure enough--he got a jacket quote from Abrams. And if it glowed any more it'd be downright radioactive.
Two, Forman's character, Eddie Perlmutter, is the personification of a Mary Sue. Check out the definition, edited from the Wikipedia folks:
Mary Sue is a pejorative term used to describe a fictional character who plays a major role in the plot and is particularly characterized by overly idealized and hackneyed mannerisms, lacking noteworthy flaws, and primarily functioning as wish-fulfillment fantasies for their authors or readers.The author may seem to push how exceptional and wonderful the "Mary Sue" character is on his or her audience, sometimes leading the audience to dislike or even resent the character fairly quickly; such a character could be described as an "author's pet".
That's a big accusation, but spending a little time with Perlmutter, who manages to charm just about everyone he meets (including managing to charm women half his age into bed), proves to be unusually virile for a man in his sixties (seriously--it's a plot device. His manhood will actually SPEAK to him throughout the story.), and manages to stumble over and break up numerous crimes seemingly by sheer blind luck. Does anything BAD happen to Perlmutter? Well, his wife dies early on, but that just frees him up to go on the various sexcapades he'll have throughout the story. He'll end up in the hospital after doing something heroic. He manages to start a CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT (the so-called Boca Knights) that manages to catch on so fast that he'll have celebrities like Barbra Streisand and no less than OPRAH WINFREY joining it despite the fact that it's only existed for a couple weeks.
If Eddie Perlmutter isn't an "author's pet", then someone needs to check for a collar because I swear Forman's taking him for walkies every morning.
But. And yes, there is a "but"-- one thing I have to admit is that Boca Knights is a blistering read. I managed to run this sucker through in a single night when we had some really vicious windstorms out here and the power flickered so much that I couldn't even keep my computer from rebooting every five minutes. It took about four hours to run my way through Eddie Perlmutter's adventures, and I definitely wasn't unhappy about it. Sure, Steven Forman is no Joseph Wambaugh, but he's got a pretty fair handle on things. I honestly admit that I'm looking forward to the next installment. That's definitely an upside that shouldn't be ignored.
I hate Forman's main character with a passion, and I'm a little dubious of his marketing tactics, but I've got to admit that he's built a fairly interesting story. And there's every possibility that the series that will follow will actually improve. But if I don't see some serious calamities happen to Eddie Perlmutter I'm gonna be really, really unhappy.
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