In my humble opinion, Dangerous Boys is the first must-read novel of 2018. Greg Gifune's latest work falls squarely in the crime fiction category and is a brilliant tale set in the Summer of '84.
New Bedford, Mass, was a city like many others. A city with both good and bad. In many ways, Ritchie and his friends were much like the city they lived in.
There's a line early on in Dangerous Boys which refers to the city but also sums up its central characters. "Once darkness took hold, the city turned even more dangerous than in daylight hours."
I was immediately and totally engrossed by this coming of age tale. Ritchie, Aldo, Petie, Fritz, Ray, and Dino. "Dino Abruzzo. We called him Ma, which was a nickname that stood for mental Abruzzo." Under no circumstances, did you want to do anything to set Dino off. "When it came to Dino, it was like hanging out with a tiger. All fine and good until the tiger went tiger on your ass."
I found myself easily lost in the world created by the author. His words paint the picture of the life and times of these characters...
"I set the small oscillating fan to high, smoked a couple cigarettes, finished the beer and threw my headphones on. Rocking along with DIO for a while, I watched the shadows play along the walls and ceilings, the lights from passing cars on the street below gliding through the room like spirits, as lost and trapped within these walls as I was. Although it served as a sanctuary of sorts, my room was no different than the rest of the apartment: small, cramped, dusty and old. The building was dying. Slowly. Just like everything else in this neighborhood. It wasn’t much, but I was used to it, and it was the only room I ever remembered having, so I made the best of it. We’d lived in the building, in this same third-floor apartment, since I was five years old. People always told me nothing stayed the same. Here, nothing ever changed."
The story is relentless and the pace is blistering as the characters and their lives roll along to the inevitable destiny they all share. By the middle of the story, I felt I knew these characters intimately. Like I was one of them like I was a part of the gang.
It's been a long time since I've read a book as engrossing as Dangerous Boys. I can't recommend this one highly enough.
Dangerous Boys is published by Down and Out Books and is available now in both Paperback and e-book formats.
From the author's bio - Greg F. Gifune is a best-selling, internationally-published author of several acclaimed novels, novellas and two short story collections. Greg's work is predominantly in the horror and crime genres. Two of his short stories, Hoax and First Impressions have been adapted to film. His novel Children of Chaos is currently under a development deal to be made into a television series, and his novel The Bleeding Season has been called one of the best horror/thriller novels of the decade. Greg resides in Massachusetts with his wife Carol, a few cats, and his beloved dog Dozer.