Boys from Joppa follows the small city of Hollowell in the 1960s. Full of love, sex, crime and incredible characters, Boys from Joppa will not disappoint readers looking for something unique to read.
L.E. Barrett creates a vivid setting, full of memorable and unique characters. The author states early on that the Kennebec River Trilogy is not about one central protagonist. Instead, he writes about the lives of characters that are unapologetically human. He weaves a tale featuring broken, greedy, passionate and flawed characters.
Boys from Joppa is a stunning mix of pulp fiction, romance, mystery, and action. Even though there are only 215 pages (Kindle edition) nothing about the story feels rushed. It creates an atmosphere filled with the lively energy that is uniquely part of Joppa. The details are provided without boring the reader and the characters are quickly, but thoroughly introduced.
I tremendously enjoyed Boys from Joppa. I loved that none of the characters were just good or just evil. Most were humans seeking love, recognition or a way to escape from their pasts. The story also features a wide variety of individuals. We have World War II veterans struggling with their demons, abused housewives trying to find love and independence, a town drunk with a pure heart that always lands himself in the wrong place, and so many more unique stories. The author had me loving and hating everyone in equal parts, and each chapter brought with it unpredictable entertainment. Some parts were hilarious, others tense with suspense, and some had me close to tears. The story around Joppa captured stunning beauty in life but also devastating cruelty.
The only faults I found were a few missed quotation marks and commas. The book does appear to be professionally edited, and the writing errors could easily be overlooked. The book does end on a cliffhanger, but the rest of the story is so filled with action that I can forgive it.
I must caution any potential readers that Boys from Joppa is for an older audience. This book has explicit sex scenes (sometimes with more than two participants), swearing, thievery, alcohol and drug abuse, and violence. There is also a traumatic suicide. While not extremely explicit, it is a heart-breaking scene that could upset the reader. There are talks of rape and domestic violence, as well as a scene of violent abuse. It isn't something I enjoy reading, but it does fit in and fill out the whole story.
I rate Boys from Joppa 4 out of 4 stars. I would recommend this book to those seeking an adventurous, fast-paced, and hysterical read that weaves the tale of a city meant for the record books.