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Seems like every day there is a new review for Dennis Hart’s GULF BOULEVARD. So here is the latest, from Kirkus, just received this afternoon, and it leads off the attached UPDATE.
Four reviews are now in place, with Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist heaping much praise: with two different references to the fiction of Carl Hiaasen, another to Dave Barry, as well as one each to Laurence Shames and Tim Dorsey. I can think of no higher praise than putting Dennis in the company of these Best-Selling comic crime writers who cover the shenanigans going on off the Florida coast. Not to mention the fine review in Detective Mystery Stories.
Martin Shepard, co-publisher
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GULF BOULEVARD UPDATE
Kirkus Reviews: Review Issue Date: December 15, 2013 Online Pub Date: December 7, 2013
GULF BOULEVARD, by Dennis Hart
Publisher: Permanent Press Pages: 318 Price ( Hardcover ): $29.00 Pub Date: Feb 21, 2014
A universal fantasy kicks off Hart’s debut comic caper.
Jason Najarian, pencil pusher for a Boston rope company, wins a multimillion dollar lottery. Jason quits the job, buys his divorced parents each a house, disengages from newfound friends and relatives, and plots revenge on his unfaithful ex-wife, who pleads “[t]emporary insanity….My periods were wicked bad back then.” Jason gives her $10,000, moves to a beachfront mansion on a Florida island and tells her to join him in Malibu, Calif. Hart’s Everyman fantasy plays out with a madcap cast, including “The Hammer,” Phyllis Hammerstein, pint-sized realtor. She’s cool until Jason lays down a $1.2 million certified check, and then she turns flirty. The bad guy lead is amply filled by 380-pound, 5-foot-10 Salvatore “Two Scales” Scalise, a hit man in hiding after accidentally adding the mob capo’s son to a contract. The romantic lead goes to Fiona “Running Bush” Tallahassee, Native American activist, who Jason believes is “the most beautiful woman I have ever seen, without first logging onto a website.” There’s woe to come, but the narrative’s first half is all vicarious fun—new boat, new pickup and enough other goodies to make a comfort-rich hermit life for Jason. Hart has a way with one-liners and left-handed descriptions, as when measuring Jason’s ex-wife’s intelligence; she “thought AT&T was a place to get drinks because they always advertised about having the most bars.” Add minor characters, like marina manager Memphis the Lighthouse, who believes Jason’s a terrorist, Tranquility, Jason’s father’s new hippie wife, and Bradley, the supercilious professor married to Jason’s mother, to this Florida milieu, and the action moves along quickly.
Works by Dave Barry and Carl Hiaasen offer more hyperbole and surrealism, respectively. Still, there’s plenty of good fun here, with a sequel to come.
Publishers Weekly November 29, 2013
GULF BOULEVARD by Dennis Hart. Permanent, $29.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-57962-353-1
Dave Barry fans will welcome Hart’s debut and series opener, a comic thriller complete with a beachfront Florida locale, everyman hero, Mafia thugs, colorful characters, and ubiquitous fart jokes. In Providence, R.I., contract killer Salvatore Scalise performs a two-for-one murder for the local boss in the hope of being given further work. Unfortunately for Salvatore, one of his victims is the boss’s son. In Boston, accountant Jason Najarian wins $63 million in the Powerball lottery, and in short order relocates to a beach house on a barrier island near Sarasota, Fla., where he begins enjoying the sunsets with new neighbors like Sal Santini and Fiona Tallahasee. Jason is excited by the signs of interest from the beautiful Fiona, but not all is rosy. Jason’s ex, Megan O’Mally, believes she deserves some of his windfall, something is definitely wrong with Sal, and men in black with binoculars are hanging about. This is neither great literature nor politically correct, but it’s a lot of fun. (Feb.)
DETECTIVE MYSTERY STORIES and PULP DEN
Gulf Boulevard (Comedic Mystery), by Dennis Hart
The Permanent Press ISBN #978-1579623531, Price $29.95, 318 Pages. Rating 5-Stars
“A Fun Romp With Beautiful Women and Mafia Hit Men”
Jason Najarian, a Boston office worker suddenly wins the lottery, walking away with 19 million dollars. He leaves his boring job, buys a beach home in the Florida Keys, and his life makes a complete turn-around. But things may not be for the better. Now, with the sudden windfall, his ex wife, who left him for a muscle-head gym instructor, wants in on the money and comes after him. And to make matters worse, none of his new neighbors seem to be what they are supposed to be. In fact, the jolly fat man just might be a Mafia hit man running from the mob, and the French poet could be just about anything. Then there is the old lady with the pie, a young daughter and two ugly sons who look like gangsters. He does know the beautiful Indian girl, nicknamed Running Bush, is the woman of his dreams – well, maybe.
Okay, there really isn’t much of a mystery to the story, except for who is who, and what is really going on. The hit man made a bad mistake on his last assignment, and now there is a contract out on him, so things are pretty hot around the beach. How can a sudden millionaire find so much trouble in paradise? But the author gives us an enjoyable read, with fascinating characters, and cool plot, written with humor and realistic dialogue. Highly recommended for a quiet weekend reading. —Tom Johnson
Booklist, December 1, 2013
Hart, Dennis (Author) Feb 2014. 318 p. Permanent Press, hardcover, $29. (978157962353).
Jason Najarian, a cuckolded Boston office worker, has just won the lottery. Not just any lottery but one with a prize of $63 million. After he quits his job, he hightails it to Florida to buy the secluded island beach home of his dreams. But his plans to settle into life as a sunset-watching hermit keep getting interrupted. His greedy ex-wife suddenly wants her “Poopsie” back, his realtor turns out to be a prematurely widowed cougar, and the Rhode Island hit man living on the other side of the island is terribly lonely (and very insistent on involving Jason in an ill-advised caper). Throw in a foul-mouthed bird, a Native American beauty, and some daffy divorced parents, and you have a perfectly breezy Florida caper.
Fans of Laurence Shames, Tim Dorsey, and Carl Hiaasen will eagerly await the planned sequel, Gulf Boulevard: Postcards from the World.