Down & Out Books, PB, $17.95, 308 pages, ISBN 978-1-946502-52-0
In the summer of 1984, a series of heat waves blasted the northeast United States in rapid succession, one after another. It’s particularly hot in the old whaling port of New Bedford, Massachusetts, where the usual cooling ocean breezes have disappeared, leaving the city in a steaming humid mess of baking sidewalks, human sweat and bad tempers. It’s where four lifelong friends are coming of age in a gripping new novel by one of the best crime fiction and horror writers in the country.
Dangerous Boys, by Greg F. Gifune, is so compelling, you won’t be able to put it down; so well written, you’ll feel the heat and humidity; and so heartbreakingly real that you’ll feel sort of sorry for the lost boys at the same time you’re disgusted by their behavior, and utterly repulsed by their savagery and criminality.
Aldo, Richie, Dino, Fritz and Petie are young bad-asses on the verge of adulthood: too old to be doing what they’re doing, and too young to act like adults. They’ve known each other since grade school, hung out and raised hell together. Fact is, they’re thugs who’ve been committing petty crimes and getting picked up by the cops ever since they were seven years old. Now it’s decision time, but only Richie Lionetti wants out. He wants something better because he knows that they can’t continue as they are, and he doesn’t want the life of crime, or the dull, back-breaking, life-ending jobs his friends are destined for. Richie dreams of getting out. Out of the gang. Out of his nowhere life. And out of New Bedford, where his mother—his only living relative—is slowly killing herself with booze and heroin. So, Richie agrees when Aldo proposes the heist . . . the really big-time job that’ll put them over the top, into the big leagues and a whole new dimension of criminality . . . the job that can’t go wrong if we stick to the plan. Yeah. Right. This novel transcends time and space. It drops the reader smack dab into the hottest summer imaginable, at the point of no return for the young protagonists in this dark, dark noir thriller that made the MBR an instant fan of the work of Greg F. Gifune!