In October 2010 I was in San Francisco for Bouchercon, the annual four-day gala conference for mystery writers and fans. One night, amidst the crowds milling around the hotel atrium, I bumped into a man who was dapper, polite and funny. He introduced himself as mystery writer Steven M. Forman. We talked about all the writers’ angst we shared and told a few glory stories as well. We exchanged cards and a few months later I got a Facebook friend request from Steve and cheerfully accepted. If you are not Facebook friends with Steve Forman, you are missing the best one-line groaners ever!
So when I heard that the third book in Steve’s Boca Knights series, the aptly named Boca Daze, was soon to be released, I asked for an early peek and the chance to let you all know if Steve is as entertaining in thre- hundred plus pages as he is in one-liners on Facebook. The answer is an unequivocal YES.
I’ll let Eddie Perlmutter, the head of the Boca Knights Detective Agency, tell you a little about himself.
“Some people say I’m a senior-citizen superhero. I’m not. Superheroes have special powers. I have special needs. Superman has X-ray vision. I’m nearsighted. Batman has a Batmobile. I have a Mini Cooper. Spider-Man spins large webs. I have an enlarged prostate. I was Boston’s most decorated and demoted policeman in my prime and the best marksman on the force. Now, I’m just a sixty-one-year-old ex–Boston cop trying to adapt to life’s changes. I retired to Boca Raton three years ago, and after solving local crimes and rescuing two damsels in distress, I became a private detective. A young newspaper reporter looking for a story dubbed me the Boca Knight, and the name stuck. I’m a little guy, barely five-foot-six, 165 pounds. But I’m fearless and that makes me bigger.”
And in case you don’t know what it is to be in your sixties, let me tell you that we spend at least one minute of every day wondering what happened to how things used to be. Eddie has just such a moment here:
“I … flicked open my cell phone, read,You have one message, pressed the listen button, and heard, “Eddie, it’s Jerry. Call me.” I clicked to erase the message, thumbed Jerry’s speed-dial number, and confirmed the “connecting” signal. I knew how to press buttons, but it was all a mystery to me. When I grew up, television was beginning, ice delivery was ending, cars had running boards, phone numbers started with a name and a number— Longwood 6, Aspinwal 7, Copley 5— and party lines still existed.”
Naturally, Eddie is the exact person we’ll find at the center of a story that combines a veteran of the Battle of Tarawa in the Pacific Theatre of the Second World War, and a young, deadly south Florida street gang. Assisting in his adventures (or sometimes getting in Eddie’s way) we meet people like the homeless but resourceful Three Bag Bailey; con artist but always in-the-know Doc Hurwitz; computer whiz Lou Dewey; and Mad Dog Walken, head of the Overtown Outlaws.
With this mix of characters, Eddie is off and running in several different directions, working on one case, or is it another, until, multiple crimes are solved. At the very end of the book Eddie answers Bailey’s call to help save endangered sea turtles, which involves a small battle with poachers and a larger, dirtier battle with gulls flying and diving overhead.
“What are you thinking?” Bailey asked.
“I’m thinking that I’m glad I get involved and try to make things better.”
“But look at you. You’re covered with shit.”
“Sometimes that happens to people who get involved.”
Now that’s a philosophy that makes a man proud. In Boca Daze Steve Forman brings serious issues to our attention, underlines the destruction they wreak on people’s lives, but does so with a combination of fun and style. Not only will you enjoy this book, you’ll probably end up friending Steve on Facebook.
According to Terrie, writing short mystery fiction is nearly as much fun as hanging out with any or all of her seven grandchildren. She is editor of the recently released Sisters in Crime New York/Tri-State chapter anthology, Murder New York Style: Fresh Slices, and blogs at Women of Mystery.