I always was a sucker for a good cause. – Eddie Perlmutter
Eddie Perlmutter is not your typical Boca Raton retiree. While most of Boca’s citizens find themselves preoccupied with things like golf, bridge tournaments, doctors appointments, and early-bird specials, former Boston detective turned private investigator Eddie tends to find himself caught up in slightly more serious matters.
During his brief time in Boca, Eddie has taken on the Russian mafia and run a group of neo-Nazis out of town on a rail (the cases that earned him the nickname “The Boca Knight”), solved the mystery of a haunted elevator, shut down a cyber-criminal (who’s since become Eddie’s partner), busted up a kidnapping/identity theft ring, and parlayed the financial results of one investigation into a health care clinic for a low income community (Boca Mournings).
Not bad for a sexagenarian with arthritic knuckles, two bum knees, and a pesky prostate.
Boca Daze finds Eddie dealing with a blast from his Boston past when old school criminal Doc Hurwitz, also now retired to Boca, reaches out to Eddie for help. Doc’s granddaughter, Shoshanna, recently overdosed on OxyContin pills she obtained from one of Florida’s infamous “pill mills,” places that churn out thousands of prescriptions for painkillers under questionable – but legal – circumstances. Doc wants Eddie to get the evidence needed to prove the clinic where Shoshanna got her pills is dirty and shut the place down.
Eddie’s barely started on the job when another’s brought to his attention. A homeless man has been attacked and left for dead, and the reporter who recently did a profile about the man wants Eddie to find out who did it, especially since it’s not the first time Boca’s homeless population has been the target of harassment and violence. Throw in a wrong turn that leads Eddie into a confrontation with the Overtown Outlaws in the rough-and-tumble Liberty City area, a massacre at a diner, a house bombing, shady goings on at a local church, and his partner Lou Dewey’s crusade to shut down a financial scam of Bernie Madoff-like proportions and The Boca Knight once again finds his plate more than full. Well, like the man said… he always was a sucker for a good cause.
As he did in Boca Knights and Boca Mournings, author Steve Forman brings Boca Raton to life through Eddie’s wicked sense of humor, with his almost stream of consciousness riffing on all things Boca running throughout the otherwise very serious situations Eddie encounters during the course of his investigations. And that is where Forman truly shines; his ability to use Eddie’s literally laugh out loud observations and top-notch sleuthing skills to raise awareness of important social issues in such a way that is entertaining and enlightening, but without being preachy, is unparalleled. Forman also uses Eddie to show that the ability to live a useful life doesn’t end at retirement, but rather that it’s never too late to take up the flag for a cause you truly believe in.
Eddie Perlmutter continues to be a wonderfully original character, one who manages to uphold the best of the P.I. genre – a dogged investigator solving clever crimes and mysteries – while at the same time turning stereotypes and conventional wisdom about old age on their ear. If you haven’t before, now’s the perfect time to take a trip to Boca.
Boca Daze is available from Forge Books (ISBN: 978-0765328762).