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Book Author: Gerry Boyle

PORT CITY SHAKE DOWN by Gerry Boyle: Book Review

Portland, Maine, is a city dear to my heart, as my older son and his wife work there (  But not all of Portland is a renovated waterfront and fabulous new restaurants.  Apparently there’s still plenty of nasty stuff going on behind the glitz.

A fight at a funeral sets Port City Shake Down in motion.  Brandon Blake is a part-time college student.  He is riding in a squad car with a veteran police officer as part of a criminology course he’s taking.  When a call comes over the police radio about a disturbance at a funeral home, Brandon and the police officer go to the scene.

Several women are kicking, punching, cursing, and biting each other next to the coffin, and Brandon rushes in to separate them.  Trying to protect himself as well as stop the fight, he elbows one of the women in the face and breaks her nose.  The woman’s son, who is also the grandson of the deceased, handcuffed and with a sheriff’s deputy by his side, tells Brandon, “Eye for an eye, dude…Times (expletive deleted) ten.”

Joel Fuller, the man in handcuffs, gets early release from prison from a sympathetic judge the following day.  Now he’s got the chance to make good his threat against Brandon.  

Brandon was five when his free-spirited mother left Portland on a boat with three men she had met a few days before.  It was supposed to have been a short voyage, but the boat never arrived at its intended port.  It was reported lost, no survivors.  Brandon’s father is unknown, so it’s always been just Brandon and his grandmother Nella.  But Nella hasn’t been the most stable of guardians–she’s never far from a bottle of wine.

Given his background, it’s not surprising that Brandon has always kept to himself and taken care of himself.  When his criminology professor asks him why he’s only taking one course, Brandon reluctantly explains that he works at a Portland marina.  The professor reminds him there is financial assistance available–loans, grants.  But Brandon isn’t having any of that.  “I don’t need any help…I pay as I go,” he responds.

But suddenly his life is opening up.  Mia, another student in the criminology course, makes it clear she’s interested in Brandon.  She’s smart, self-assured, and thinks Brandon is leading an adventurous life very different from her own.  Soon they’re a couple, and Brandon has someone in his life with whom to share his thoughts and even his secrets.

Then, as he and Nella are driving around the waterfront, Nella suddenly orders Brandon to stop the car.  She has seen, or thinks she has, one of the men on the boat that supposedly went down with everyone aboard, including her daughter. But when Brandon rushes out of the car to find the man Nella calls Lucky, he’s nowhere to be seen.  Did she really see him?

I’m always delighted when I come across what is for me a new writer, and that’s what happened in this case.  I was ordering a book from Amazon and they suggested, as they always do, that I might also want to purchase Port City Shake Down. I took a chance, and I’m pleased that I did.

Gerry Boyle has created a very interesting protagonist, a young man who has made himself what he is with not much help from anyone.  He’s smart, independent, and knows what he wants from life.  I’m looking forward to the next book in the series, Port City Black and White.

You can read more about Gerry Boyle at his web site.