I have read so many novels that involve Los Angeles’s Parker Center that I feel as if I have been there many times. Boulevard is another one of those detective stories that revolves around it and all the infighting and politics that go along with it. Before you click away though, understand that Stephen Jay Schwartz has penned a very good debut novel that has a very warped twist to it. For some reason the novels that I have posted on for this week seem to have a certain trend to them: twisted , damaged people with unusual proclivities.
Boulevard is a very gripping, quick read. It is hard to put down. Stephen Jay Schwartz’s novel is compelling, at times revolting, and altogether a well-constructed novel, not just for a debut. His main character is two sides of a coin that at times seems more complex than a Rubik’s Cube. Addiction is a recurring theme throughout and it is not for drugs or alcohol; he has a sex addiction. The problem with that is he picks up prostitutes on the Boulevard. He is supposed to be putting them behind bars; go figure. Twist, twist, twisted, it is a nice wrinkle. Did it rankle me? Yes it did, but other novelists have used other devices and plotlines that have gotten my attention in other ways too; his is just a bit more unique.
Don’t let his use of this type of addiction make you pass on this novel. The characters he creates and the setting, although used by many, seem perfect for his construct. If he had set this in my hometown, it wouldn’t have worked; we don’t have a Boulevard. This novel definitely had a different feel and grit to it than others that have characters working out of the same building; it was refreshing. Stephen Jay Schwartz has crafted a tough, cop, crime drama with many flawed, damaged characters that leads to many places one may not expect. The ride is a bit rough, the action is intense, and the pages turn quick. Be warned, addictions come in many forms, but get beyond it and don’t pass up this highly nominated debut novel.
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