If in a gated or country club community anywhere in the state of Florida or if you grew up in Boston, you owe it to yourself to read Boca Knights, a debut novel by Boca resident Steven M. Forman. It’s true he has focused his authorial magnifying glass on Boca Raton and his description of the lifestyle and people who live in these communities is perfect to a tee (pun intended), but writing this book off as a comic novel is to do Forman and his work an injustice.
Forman, who grew up in Boston, has crafted his protagonist, Edward S. Perlmutter, with loving care and attention to Perlmutter’s Boston roots and Jewish background. As a cop, Perlmutter is an overachiever, but he has an Achilles heel—an over-the-top temper, a characteristic he has inherited from his grandfather who emigrated from Russia. In fact, the book begins with the grandfather’s story in 1896, but quickly shifts to contemporary times and traces Permlutter’s (the grandson) life when he retires and moves to Boca Raton to work at Boca Heights, a golf course with a community attached.
In the course of time, Perlmutter—never politically correct or even politically cautious—quits his job, gets his private investigator’s license and is hired to look into a suspicious death in Boca Heights. As he investigates, he confronts the Aryan Army, sex with randy Boca women, and the politics of a home owner’s association. And he must cope with Mr. Johnson (the name he has given his penis), who is surprisingly literate if obstinate. While a tad over the top at its climax when local residents demonstrate against the Aryan Army by blocking both north A1A and I-95 (having lived in the area 10 years, the only lines I’ve never seen during season), the book definitely works. Forman’s characters, especially the ones from south Boston—Togo Amato, Bruno “Muscles” Marinara, Petey “Pants” Pantolioni—are wonderful. The plot moves at a nice pace. Boca Knights is an amusing, engaging and even heartwarming read, well worth your time.
(Republished with permission of the Boca Raton News, the flagship newspaper of the South Florida Media Group)
Prudy Taylor Boca Raton News April 23, 2019