Eddie Perlmutter was always a street brawler, a “puny Jewish kid from the upscale suburb of Brookline,” Massachusetts, and from the time he was very young he wanted to be a cop. It is not too surprising, therefore, when he becomes first a boxer and then a cop, professions not high on his parents’ list of ambitions for their only child. As a boxer he was fierce: twenty-one Golden Gloves bouts, no defeats, three championships in two different weight divisions; as a cop he only wanted ‘good things for good people and bad things for bad people,’ in the process receiving two Police Department Medals of Honor, two medals for valor, three medals for merit, and a Mayor’s Commendation.
When he retires with arthritis and his pension from the Boston P.D., he is “a fifty-five-year-old, unemployed widower with the long term prospects of a moth around a bright light.” At the suggestion of one of his best friends, he takes a job at a country club in Boca Raton primarily handling security. He is told “Boca is great. It’s just not perfect . . . Boca is unique. You’ll see.” And indeed he does. But who would expect serious crime there? Eddie, however, finds exactly that, or perhaps it finds him.
The story of Eddie’s forebears in the Ukraine Peninsula is a fascinating one, some of which the reader learns in the book’s first pages, but which Eddie himself learns only in his middle age. It seems he shares many of the traits of his grandfather, who was a hero and fearless.
There is much in this book about the choices one makes in life, some of them good, others not so much. The author displays a wonderful and offbeat humor and sense of irony, as well as a love of alliteration. The protagonist is a totally original and somewhat whacky character, and a true mensch. I must admit that I at first found it a bit off-putting when Eddie occasionally has conversations with a body part, one which I think it prudent not to identify, but that just became one more endearing part of his personality. It could be the shared Russian-Jewish heritage, but this reader was totally captivated by the novel and its protagonist, and I hope that Eddie Perlmutter returns in future books. I loved this one, and it is highly recommended.