Ben Lieberman has written an engrossing narrative in the vernacular of the main character, Kevin Davenport, who basically recounts the main drama in his life from age ten to age 21. The story starts with Kevin, a college student, working the summer in a meat packing plant in the New York/Albany region, then flashes back to his life at age 10. Disaster strikes his family when his father, an assistant D.A. and Kevin's 5-year-old sister are killed on a side walk patio by a hit and run driver. Kevin excels at sports and wins a basketball scholarship to attend a private high school. From that point the reader is engrossed in the story wanting to know what is going to happen to Kevin next including the two young women he meets at different stages in this 11-year period. Kevin gets involved as a fighter at work in which wagers are made. Kevin notes criminal activity occurring at his work place, and is almost killed for observing the activity.
While Kevin is at college he gets involved in managing sports betting and distributing pot which yield significant funds, but have him living on the edge avoiding prosecution, and criminal competitors. There is an ulterior motive for this activity, and I will leave it to the book reader to find this out. Kevin cultivates his association with Seth, an ex-special operation soldier which leads to a coordinated approach in dealing with the criminal activity occurring at a high level of authority..
I understand that this is the first book by Ben Lieberman. I will certainly be looking for his next one.
Kevin Davenport is a student, funding his college studies by working various odd jobs. His current job is at the Kosher World Meat Factory - unloading sides of beef in the morning, and carrying racks of hotdogs in the afternoon. It's a good union job, with good pay and Kevin can thank Jimmy Balducci (the father of a friend) for it.
It doesn't take Kevin long to work out that the Kosher World Meat Factory is controlled by a crime syndicate. When Kevin finds a connection between the Kosher World Meat Factory and the death of his father (a prosecutor in the D.A.'s office) and sister in a hit-and-run accident ten years ago, which he witnessed as an eleven year old, he's keen for revenge. Going to the police does not appear to be an option for Kevin: especially not after seeing a co-worker end up in pieces inside a fellow worker's locker. When Kevin proves himself as a winning fighter in some organised fights between companies, he becomes trusted by those who run the plant. This gives him some useful insights, and some opportunities. So Kevin Davenport has a plan, but can he survive, and triumph against a brutal crime syndicate? And what about his friends?
`Let your mistakes be your own.'
I mostly enjoyed this novel: I was caught up in Kevin's story from the beginning and while some aspects of the story seemed slow to develop, the pace really picked up about half way through and then I couldn't put the book down. There are some unexpected twists, and some unlikely laugh- out- loud moments. This is Ben Lieberman's debut novel, and it's well worth reading. Especially if you enjoy stories about revenge, and can handle the blood and guts of a meat factory. I hope that Kevin Davenport reappears in future novels.
Note: I was offered, and accepted, a copy of this book for review purposes.