After thirty-plus years as a policeman I thought I knew a little about people, and I did. But I knew nothing about retired people, and now I was surrounded by them. – Eddie Perlmutter
After a long and lauded career in the Boston PD – 34 years, two medals of honor, two medals for valor, three medals for merit, and a Commendation from the Mayor to boot – Eddie Perlmutter was finally forced into retirement for medical reasons.
Though he’d love to stay in the old neighborhood, the traumatic arthritis in his knuckles and bum knees just isn’t tolerating the cold Boston winters very well. So what’s a New England Jewish retiree to do? Move to Boca Raton of course!
A friend lines Eddie up with a cushy security job at a posh country club, but as Eddie soon learns things are anything but laid back in sunny south Florida. Before he knows it Eddie is roped in to trying to solve the year-old murder of one of the gated community’s residents.
Along the way he stumbles upon a counterfeiting ring, which is funding a meth lab, which happens to be run by the Russian mafia. Oh, and there’s the small matter of the white supremacists that have moved in and are terrorizing the neighborhood. Hardly a relaxing, carefree retirement.
Forman’s depictions of the petty posturing and backstabbing involved in country club politics are literally laugh out loud funny. When Eddie’s not dealing with “Boca Bullies” (“Men who simply hadn’t mellowed with age. They maintained an aggressive attitude and turned every situation into a confrontation.”), he’s juggling “Boca Babes” (“An unmistakable combination of a bad attitude, chic clothing, beauty-parlor magic, and surgical surprises.”). And Eddie tackles it all with a matter-of-fact demeanor and wicked sense of humor that turns the little corner of Boca Raton he’s settled in on its ear.
The only slight quibble I had with the book is that the ending was a tad on the feelgood side for my tastes. Not that I’m against happy endings per se, but I found this one to be just a little over-the-top. Then again, I am admittedly a bit on the bloodthirsty side in my normal reading, so it could just be me. And that’s not to say there isn’t plenty of action and some downright nasty violence in Boca Knights. Eddie has a very deep-seated sense of honor and justice, with an almost compulsive need to fight – literally if needed – for the little guy and those who can’t fight for themselves. His encounter with the Russian mafia thugs in the meth lab is as explosive and brutal as you’ll find in any crime fiction.
With Boca Knights author Steve Forman has introduced a wonderfully original character into the modern crime fiction / private investigator genre. Though he’s a sixty-year-old, arthritic, Jewish retiree, Eddie Perlmutter is also a tough talking, wise cracking, former cop who’s still ready, willing and able to throwdown when needed. I for one hope Eddie keeps kicking ass and making me laugh until I’m receiving AARP mailings. Long live the Boca Knight.
Boca Knights is available from Tor/Forge (ISBN: 978-0765359575).