The Charlestown Connection

This debut novel from Tom MacDonald does a great job at capturing the Massachusetts city he is writing about. There have been plenty of books that take place in and around Boston, but MacDonald really captures the neighborhood feel with THE CHARLESTOWN CONNECTION, doing a fine job of mixing fiction with one of the more legendary robberies of our time. While the novel might begin as some super-gritty noir, the story shows its true colors with the investigation aspect that slowly transforms the book.

Dermot Sparhawk is taking it one day at a time. A former college football star on the road to the big time, he had his career stopped short due to an on-field injury and a botched medical job. Now you can find him working the pantry for a local parish. Then his godfather, Jeepster, shows up with a knife in his back, literally.

Jeepster can’t say much — only a mention of Oswego — and gives Dermot a key. But a key to what? As soon as word gets out, Dermot gets more than a few unexpected visitors over the next few days, all wanting to know what Jeepster’s last words were and if he gave him anything. Dermot enlists the help of his friends to figure out what all this means.

Again, CONNECTION throws a change-up at the readers in a way that they won’t realize initially just how well its pulled off. Of note are moments of Dermot dealing with a couple of Irish thugs and a meeting with a high-ranking IRA official. All Dermot is concerned with is the discovery he makes of a collection of paintings and how they tied to his godfather.

This book read like a breath of fresh air. The author has a voice worth following, with his mixture of Boston references and the inner workings of these communities. There is definitely a giveaway of when this book takes place, since there is a reference to one of the biggest collapses in Bruins’ history. (Too bad one of MacDonald’s characters could not have stuck around this past year.)

For readers who want a detective story in the vein of latter-day Ross Macdonald, this MacDonald will easily fill that void. —Bruce Grossman

Buy it at Amazon.

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1 Comment »

Comment by Christy Z.
2011-07-27 09:41:01

I am quite fond of crime books with Boston/New England as the back drop. I’ll have to check this one out. Thanks Bruce!

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