Boca Daze by Steven M. Forman

A witty sexagenarian PI who’s unafraid to take on a wacky variety of villains all at once.

Steven M. Forman’s third novel (following Boca Knights and Boca Mournings) checks back in with retired Boston cop Eddie Perlmutter, better known as the Boca Knight. Now firmly established as a private investigator in South Florida, Eddie is hit by several cases simultaneously. First, a homeless man claiming to be the Depression-era sad clown Weary Willie is attacked, and a local reporter asks Eddie to look into the circumstances. Then a new friend, World War II vet Herb Brown, suggests an investigation into a too-good-to-be-true investment scheme. For good measure, an old mobster acquaintance (and former foe from his days with the Boston PD) asks Eddie to take on the Florida “pill mills.” Eventually the Boca Knight finds himself staking out a Catholic church, traveling to Tallahassee to lobby the state legislature and palling around with a homeless woman with a tragic past. All this, while experimenting with Viagra to try to keep up with his much-younger girlfriend.

Eddie is wry and self-deprecating; the overall tone is humorous, his battles with “Mr. Johnson” especially so. Don’t sell Eddie short, though: despite the laughs, he can still take on gangsters a fraction of his age. Forman briefly but seriously addresses the Florida health crisis caused by a barely regulated prescription drug market, and then Boca Daze wraps up all its tragedies neatly and hopefully, with a wedding and a boxing match. Fans of lighthearted mysteries, South Florida or elderly heroes will be more than pleased with the Boca Knight’s latest quests.

This review originally ran as a *starred review* in the February 7, 2012 issue of Shelf Awareness for Readers. To subscribe, click here, and you’ll receive two issues per week of book reviews and other bookish fun!

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