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The Charlestown Connection (Dermot Sparhawk Series) [Kindle Edition]

Tom MacDonald
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)

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Print List Price: $25.95
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Book Description

Dermot Sparhawk, a former All American Boston College football hero, is stacking cans in a parish food pantry in Boston's Charlestown, when his godfather, Jeepster Hennessey, shows up with a knife in his back and dies at Dermot's feet. Once slated for a professional football career, now a recovering alcoholic, with a torn-up knee, Dermot sets out to solve the murder of his godfather with the help of his Micmac Indian cousin, his paraplegic tenant, and a former teammate. Dermot's investigation has him tangling with members of the IRA, FBI, and the Boston mob. He also is forced to contend with Charlestown's code of silence and the norms of the neighborhood where he grew up. Feeling like he did at the height of his game, Dermot uses his Native American intuition and Irish good looks to help him uncover clues. Dermot stumbles upon bits and pieces of information that he cobbles together into an unlikely theory which leads him on an unexpected trail and to a new mystery that could cost him his life.

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Brisk pacing and plenty of bad guys keep the pages turning in MacDonald's art heist tale. The jump into art forgery is a big leap, but Mac_Donald keeps all his plays moving in a winning style. He introduces intriguing, flawed characters and atypical neighborhoods, making for a highly entertaining read." - Library Journal July 2011 "MacDonald deftly juggles all the plot balls he throws in the air in his solid thriller debut. Dermot Sparhawk, an aspiring pro football player whose career was derailed by a knee injury, tries to remain sober while running a food pantry in Boston's impoverished Charlestown neighborhood. Then his godfather, Jeepster Hennessey, who served with his father in Vietnam, stumbles into his workplace, hands him a key, and utters "Oswego" before expiring of a knife wound in the back. When Sparhawk begins asking around for information that could lead to justice for his dead friend, he draws the attention of an attractive FBI agent, Emma Hague, part of a terrorism task force, who believes there may be a link between Hennessey's murder and the threat of a major attack by Somali terrorists on liquid natural gas shipments. While a romance predictably develops between Sparhawk and Hague, the convincing if convoluted resolution and the book's dogged, flawed hero auger well for a successful series." - Publisher's Weekly August 2011

About the Author

Tom MacDonald has Boston in his blood. Born, raised, and living in the Boston area, Tom knows of what he writes. As Director of Social Ministries at St. Mary's-St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Charlestown, he brings his fictional work to the page of The Charlestown Connection. Tom has a B.A. in sociology from Stonehill College, a MBA

Product Details

  • File Size: 443 KB
  • Print Length: 276 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1608090248
  • Publisher: Oceanview Publishing; 1 edition (August 1, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005FH2HC2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #170,498 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A mystery set in Boston's Charlestown neighborhood July 30, 2011
Format:Hardcover
Dermot Sparhawk is stocking shelves in a Boston food pantry when Jeepster Hennesey staggers through the door. As Hennesey dies in Sparhawk's arms, a knife buried in his back, he gives Sparhawk a key and says the word "Oswego." Written on a piece of tape wrapped around the key is the name "McSweeney." Before long, ruffians affiliated with the IRA are trying to persuade Sparhawk to reveal Hennesey's last words. As Sparhawk investigates, he learns that the mystery somehow relates to Hennesey's membership in a prison "literary society" called the Oulipo Boys. Further investigation connects the mystery to the worlds of art forgery and high stakes poker and brings Sparhawk into contact with a woman living in the projects who (according to Sparhawk's source) is an undercover FBI agent investigating Somali terrorists.

The Charlestown Connection is Tom MacDonald's first novel. He paints a vibrant picture of Boston's Charlestown neighborhood and enriches the narrative with glimpses of Charlestown's troubled history. The book is filled with unusual characters who are sometimes more colorful than interesting. Sparhawk's alcoholism makes him instantly familiar, but I got no sense of urgency from his battle with the bottle -- his newfound sobriety seemed too easy. Friends who help Sparhawk with the mystery include Glooscap, who speaks slowly and without contractions because "contractions are for the lazy, uttered only by sluggards"; an isolated, wheelchair-bound veteran named Buck Louis; Angus Og, a sometimes delusional veteran who claims to have advised Henry Kissinger about Vietnam and John Updike about baseball (could he be telling the truth?); and the too cutely named Harraseeket Kid, a character who adds nothing to the story.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable read, tough to put down. March 6, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
First, I would like to say that I knew nothing of Tom MacDonald before I read this book. I had only recently gotten my Kindle before downloading this as a cheap "download of the month" deal. I was very pleasantly surprised.

The story moves. Simply put, it keeps the reader engaged by constantly keeping the reader on his toes - new tidbits of information in the investigation. You feel like you could be in the protagonist's shoes, right there with him as he's searching for clues.

I usually read novels by Vince Flynn or Tom Clancy, the political/action thriller, so this is a bit of a new one for me. The thing I do like about this book, though, when compared to theirs is the length. You don't need to invest weeks of valuable time into this book to get the satisfaction of finishing it. It was a rather brief read compared to those others (not that I'm complaining about the others). It's just nice to read a shorter story every once in a while.

The reasons I'm only giving it 4 stars: First, a very small complaint. The author used "clip" instead of magazine (or mag) when describing the carrying device for a handgun's ammo. Not a big deal, but I'm sure other gun enthusiasts noticed. Second, I feel like the author's sense of time was a bit off. There were a few instances where characters would do something, make some tea for instance, and the tea was done after only one or two comments. There were a few more times in the book where this happened too and I just thought, "That takes more than 30 seconds for me". Not a very big deal, but I think it would be a little more realistic if the timing was a bit different. Third, it was a bit slow to start, but I easily got into the book about 20% in.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Exchanges June 15, 2012
Format:Hardcover
I had the feeling while reading Tom MacDonald's debut novel, The Charlestown Connection, that he had been thinking about writing this book for a long time. Readers who like crime fiction should consider reading this one. The names of the characters alone were a kick: protagonist Dermot Sparhawk, for one. Set mostly in Boston's Charlestown neighborhood, MacDonald makes the people and the place appear vivid to the reader. The imaginative plot kept me engaged and entertained, especially with the interesting exchanges of art works.

Rating: Three-star (Recommended)
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Everyman Hero August 11, 2011
Format:Hardcover
I won a signed copy of this book from LibraryThing. It's set, of course, in Charlestown/Boston, Massachusetts. I seem to be in a Boston frame of mind and these books set there are making me want to go for a visit. I hadn't heard of Tom MacDonald before but I'm certainly glad I received this novel. He's a good old-fashioned storyteller in my eyes.

The best part of this story is the characters, especially the protagonist, Dermot Sparhawk who is half Micmac Indian and half Irish. He is a recovering alcoholic thanks to AA and a strength of character he apparently hadn't realized he had. The story begins when his godfather, Jeepster Hennessey stumbles into the food pantry Dermot runs and dies at Dermot's feet. He mumbles a few words as he is dying from stab wounds. The words don't make any sense to Dermot, nor do the keys his godfather presses into his hand.

Dermot owns a house and lives on the second floor while his Boston College football friend Buck who is a paraplegic lives on the first floor. His Uncle Glooscap's son Harraseeket Kid lives in the basement. The three of them team up to solve the puzzle and find themselves in danger from several fronts. It all seems to have something to do with valuable paintings. There is also an attractive FBI agent involved, but is she who she claims to be?

This is a great story with characters who are so well depicted you'll remember them for a long time, particularly Dermot. He has a good heart but he's a realist; he is handsome but has a bad knee that kept him out of pro football and is only just maintaining his sobriety. You'll cheer for him throughout the book. Personally, I hadn't heard anything about Micmac Indians since we moved out of Maine.

I highly recommend The Charlestown Connection. It doesn't matter if you know Boston or not, MacDonald makes the scene come alive for you.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great story!
Published 2 months ago by laura a guerra
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Fast reading, hard to swallow story line. All in all it is enjoyable light read.
Published 2 months ago by John Goldman
3.0 out of 5 stars OK novel, but we've seen this story before...
This book is mildly diverting/amusing as a beach read or as an airplane book: take 1 part Irish/Indian hero (touch the multi-culti base), add 1 part politically incorrect language... Read more
Published 3 months ago by flyingcow
4.0 out of 5 stars Felt like home
MY husband bought this book home because he thought I woul enjoy iy. He was right.. I was born and raised in Boston and have family in Charlestown. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Elainel Charton
5.0 out of 5 stars Charlestown Connection
I liked this book. It read true about Boston neighborhoods, alcoholism, and the Irish underground of the 80's. I would read another of his books in a heart beat.
Published 4 months ago by barbara fitzpatrick
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun historical fiction.
Great job of taking a real life mystery and weaving an excellent mystery around it. Characters are believable and locations authentic.
Published 5 months ago by William J. Schutt
5.0 out of 5 stars Believable story!
I liked the story line, the way the story developed, etc Overall, an easy but enjoyable read, whether at home or at beach.
Published 5 months ago by Francis J Drumm Jr
3.0 out of 5 stars Different
This was okay. I had to get through it to find out what was happening but it didn't really grab my interest.
Published 5 months ago by John Y
4.0 out of 5 stars Sparhawk
This is a good book featuring Dermont Sparhawk and it was an interesting read. It was loaned to me by another reader of mysteries.
Published 5 months ago by Bev
5.0 out of 5 stars Well developed story line - quick read
Well written story line of tough street life in Boston and how one 'down and almost out' character struggles to save the day. A must read for anyone from the Boston area.
Published 5 months ago by Kenenth Lynch
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