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The Ranks of Jody Brae Hardcover – November 4, 2009
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This month's Book With Buzz: "The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers "In a Dark, Dark Wood" and "The Woman in Cabin 10" comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, "The Lying Game." See more
It's Boston, the 1960's, and the dark streets of a city long past its prime are right in your face in this tale of hapless crooks, indifferent cops and raging infernos. Not just a story about a cop on a mission, Bean-town bred Cullen slips you a passport to a world chock full of odd-ball characters you won't want to hug or hide from either. The scenes sparkle like vapor on a ladder-truck spotlight while Cullen's ear for dead-on dialogue keeps the tale rolling. The Ranks of Jody Brae reads like a winner. ---Boston Globe Best-Selling Author of Boyos and In For A Pound, Richard Marinick.<br /><br />There are mystery novels that amount only to clever crossword puzzles in prose. On the other hand, there is crime fiction that expands into genuine literature. With The Ranks of Jody Brae, Jonathan Michael Cullen has accomplished the latter: plot, character, and a cultural history of Boston s grittiest neighborhoods, all interwoven into one, seamless tale that is both disturbing and moving. A highly recommended debut. - --Jeremiah Healy, Author of Turnabout and Spiral.
There are mystery novels that amount only to clever crossword puzzles in prose. On the other hand, there is crime fiction that expands into genuine literature. With The Ranks of Jody Brae, Jonathan Michael Cullen has accomplished the latter: plot, character, and a cultural history of Boston s grittiest neighborhoods, all interwoven into one, seamless tale that is both disturbing and moving. A highly recommended debut. ---Jeremiah Healy, Author of Turnabout and Spiral.
About the Author
Jonathan Cullen grew up in Boston and attended public schools. After a brief career as a bicycle messenger, he attended Boston College and graduated with a B.A. in English Literature (1995). During his twenties, he wrote two unpublished novels, taught high-school in Ireland, lived in Mexico, worked as a prison librarian and spent a month in Kenya, Africa before finally settling down three blocks from where he grew up. He currently lives in Boston (West Roxbury) with his wife Heidi and three year-old daughter Maeve. The Ranks of Jody Brae is his first novel.
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Top customer reviews
Detective Jody Brae, a Korea war veteran, begins investigating the fires on the same day he gets up the nerve to ask out the lovely Ruth. He's assigned a new partner, a black man, Detective Harrigan. While Jody relationship with Ruth scorches, so does the streets of Boston. The arsonist strikes again, this time taking innocent lives.
Soon, Jody is abandoned by his own police department. He must go into the dark underworld of the Boston streets to solve the mystery of the fires, and his own past.
Jody Brae is your typical hero character with a troubled past. Unlike other mystery novels, this is set during the 1960s, and just like I mentioned before, there are no electronic gizmos to help Jody out. The dialogue is cleverly written, and so is the descriptions of the Boston streets. I didn't care much for the love story, it's been done to death. Overall, this is a entertaining read from a debut author. I recommend reading it.
The city you choose to write a crime story in *is* a character in the work. Most crime writers choose New York or Los Angeles for the ease of sponging off the well-known legal/political mechanics, or even some cliche romantic, exotic location on our planet that carries half the essence of the novel without having to go through the trouble of setting the stage.
Boston is a city that makes an author work twice as hard for half the payoff, and it is only the skills of the author that can punch through the constraints of a low-key, sleepy city and bring excitement to the reader by building a story on relatively unknown ground. I mean, who "knows" Boston? I am reader who likes a bit of history and revelation along with the action. I hope the author is reading this when I say I want more Boston if you grant us another sequel or like novel. You did a perfect job in the same way that I am pushing this book on old timers to point out the historical flaws..... and I am coming up empty. Good job.
The one star missing from my review is that I was blown away by the yesteryear of Boston way more than the written actions of the protagonist Jody Brae. I am so very thankful the writing was flawless, as it is the writing skills that allow a reader to go off on tangents and imagine the next installment and the possibilities of shoring up the weak spots.
In closing, I am a Michael Connelly junkie with two and a half books to go to fully complete my fanboy status. I swear on my time invested that 'The Ranks of Jody Brae' is right on par with Connelly's 'Black Echo'. I temporarily dropped Connelly's 'Overlook' to finish 'Ranks of Jody Brae'.