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The Boardwalk (Rapid Reads) by Reed Farrel…

The Boardwalk (Rapid Reads) (2015)

by Reed Farrel Coleman

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Private Investigator Gulliver Dowd no longer lives in the loft in Red Hook though he still has some space there reserved for his business. Most of the other loft space is now rented out to artists. Gulliver likes artists as they create and by doing so inspire people. They create something new while he spends a lot of his life thinking about the past, the murder of his sister Keisha, and how society can’t often see beyond the fact that he is a little person. While his small stature does have its advantages at times, his size and overall physical appearance can be a detriment in his line of work.

A line of work that came about solely because of Keisha’s death. He became determined to succeed when the police failed and find her killer. He reinvented himself by acquiring new skills and talents that he never would have explored if she hadn’t died. Despite his best efforts he still has not gotten any closer to finding her killer. That is until NYPD Detective Sam Patrick decides it is time to tell him something involving Keisha. Unfortunately, he won’t do it over the phone and wants to meet later in the evening at an isolated location.

Sam never makes their meeting and instead is accidentally gunned down by a fellow police officer. Gulliver Dowd is a victim of a deliberate car crash that destroys his vehicle and puts him in the hospital. With Sam dead, Gulliver Dowd is left to try and determine not only what happened to Sam and why, but how it might also relate to Keisha’s murder years ago.

Published by Raven Books, The Boardwalk: A Gulliver Dowd Mystery is the third in a series featuring the diminutive private investigator. Featuring short sentences with little description of setting or dialogue the read rockets forward at a rapid pace. Part of the Rapid Reads series the 150 page book flows by very quickly while delivering a mystery full of misdirection.

It would be best if one plans to read the series (Dirty Work published in March 2013 and Valentino Pier published in September 2013) do so before this one as the book goes into detail regarding earlier books in the series. The Boardwalk: A Gulliver Dowd Mystery by Reed Farrel Coleman is a very pleasant diversion that ends far too soon.

The Boardwalk: A Gulliver Dowd Mystery
Reed Farrel Coleman
Raven Books (Orca Book Publishers)
February 2015
ISBN# 978-1459806740
Paperback (also available as an e-book)
150 Pages

ARC was received in exchange for my objective review courtesy of my selection as an Early Reviewer by LibraryThing for the book. Complications with mail delivery as well as my wife’s recent health issues delayed reading and reviewing this book.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2015 ( )
  kevinrtipple | Mar 21, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
PI Gulliver Dowd wants to find out who killed his sister and why. His investigation may have gotten a policeman shot and the further he gets involved the more mysterious it is. This is a novella consisting of 142 pages and so there may not be a lot of character development (this is the third in a series) but the author has written a tight, fun, quick mystery noir that I enjoyed. ( )
  grumpydan | Jan 28, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Reed Farrel Coleman describes Gulliver Dowd as follows: “Gulliver was so short that his reflection filled up only the bottom half of a mirror. Gulliver looked as if he had been built from mismatched body parts. His arms and legs were too small, even for his squat body. His hands were too big for his arms. His fingers, too small for his hands. His head, too big for his height. But the cruelest thing God had done was to give Gulliver a handsome face.” Dowd was adopted as a child along with a young Black girl, Keisha, who he considered his sister. They both overcame the odds, he becoming a private investigator and she becoming a police officer. Since her on-the-job death seven years ago, he’s been mourning her and has vowed to find her killer. He’s gone so far as to move into her Red Hook loft, to feel ‘closer’ to her.

DirtyWorkThe two best months of Dowd’s life were the two months at the end of high school when he was dating the gorgeous Nina Morton. She made him forget what a cruel joke he was, until she dumped him on graduation day. Now, in Dirty Work, seventeen years have passed (for all seventeen years he’s been dreaming about her), and she comes to him asking him to help locate her (and his) missing daughter, Anka, a daughter he never knew he had. With the help of his friend, and former Navy SEAL, Ahmed Foster, Dowd visits the prestigious Wilton Academy which Anka attended, snoops around and comes up with an answer I didn’t see coming.

In Valentino Pier, Nina has called him again, but he’s ignored her call.ValentinoPier Instead, he takes a walk along Valentino Pier in Red Hook and is approached by a young homeless boy, Ellis Torres, who starts talking to him. Torres has seen Dowd in the neighborhood and trusts him…somewhat. Torres asks Dowd to find his dog, Ugly, who has disappeared and Dowd agrees. He even goes so far as to give Torres $20 for food for both him and the dog, when it is returned. When Torres is found beaten up early the next morning and hospitalized, Dowd vows to find out what happened. Dowd always sides with the underdog, as that’s how he sees himself. Dowd and Ugly, with limited help from Ahmed Foster, crack the case.

TheBoardwalkSam Patrick is a cop Dowd met in Valentino Pier. Patrick worked at the same precinct as Keisha, the 75th. Patrick knew her and respected her, which is more than Dowd could say about many of the cops. Patrick and Dowd became friends and when Patrick calls him to request that they meet…in some isolated place…later that night to talk about Keisha’s murder, Dowd readily agrees. Patrick never shows up and Dowd driving home, is rammed three times by a van, that last hit overturning Dowd’s car. At the hospital, Dowd overhears that a cop was shot by accident and died. When he finds out it’s Patrick, Dowd doesn’t believe it was an accident and tries to find out what really happened.

What’s nice about these books for struggling readers, is that Coleman doesn’t talk down to the reader. He keeps a high interest level, has created interesting characters and believable plots…as far as any mystery can be believable. In approximately 130 pages, Coleman tells an entire story. If he wanted to expand Dowd to full length novels, he could do it without changing the character. All he has to do is extend the story line. There’s action enough to keep readers interested. I highly recommend these books for struggling readers who want a good story. ( )
  EdGoldberg | Jan 21, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
First up: note that this is a novella, and is meant to be a quick and easy read. It is not intended to be a deep dark noir with a complex, mysterious and dangerous protagonist. It is something you read while waiting for a plane to board.

It is also the 3rd in a series with the same main character, and I think if you were to start with this as the first exposure to Dowd, you'd be a bit put off by him. (Oh, okay, he is off-putting in any case, but I think that was the author's intent).

In such a short novel, it is hard to develop much of a plot, or character, but the author does a satisfying job of both. I don't like the stereotypes involved, but the author does call them out, so it is clear he was making a point in his choice of protagonist.

If you pick it up for the right reason (to start and finish in a single setting, or as a quick distraction in the doctor's office, or between meetings at the office), you will get exactly that: a quick, non-deep, decent distraction. ( )
  crazybatcow | Jan 11, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Like other LibraryThing reviewers, when I requested this book I did not realize this book was written for ESL students and other adults lacking literacy skills. At first, I was surprised by the book’s short length and the simplicity of writing … but when I realized why, I appreciated it for what it was meant to be.

I enjoy mysteries, and this story is a good one. The characters are not particularly well developed, but the reader can get a good sense of the personality & spirit of the main character, Gulliver Dowd. The short sentences and sentence fragments were disconcerting to a degree, but they definitely help to move the story along at a quick pace and make sense for the audience for whom the book was written. I am familiar with the various neighborhoods in Brooklyn where the story took place, therefore I cannot comment on whether I would have felt “lost” if I were reading about these places for the first time.

Over all, I enjoyed the book as a quick read. If the story were to be fleshed out into a full novel, I believe I would have liked it a lot more … but it was meant for a certain purpose and written for a certain type of reader. Judging it from that perspective, it was excellent! ( )
  RaucousRain | Nov 30, 2014 |
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When a detective is gunned down on the Coney Island boardwalk, Gulliver Dowd uncovers a network of police corruption and organized crime.

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