Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Book Buzz: Boulevard by Stephen Jay Schwartz

I met Stephen Jay Schwartz at Left Coast Crime, and here I offer further proof that if I ever want to get caught up on my reading stack, I must stop meeting other writers. Because when I like people, the natural extension is to go read their stuff. And without fail, these new novels cut to the front of the line, and the rest of my stack gets dusty.

No matter! Boulevard was totally worth it.

This one blew me away. I was hooked from the start, and then became irritated and grouchy when real-life interruptions got in the way of my read. That's a very good sign. :)

In Boulevard, Schwartz's debut thriller, we're introduced to a troubled protagonist, Hayden Glass, a dedicated and gifted robbery and homicide investigator plagued by a private demon, sex addiction. Slowly, we learn the many facets of Hayden's true self that have been lost to his addiction, but what really brought this character to life for me was the realistic "one step forward, two steps back" portrayal of his continued efforts to heal and recover.

As Hayden works a string of murder cases, he discovers that he is the link connecting them all. While other detectives in his division are headed down the wrong path, Hayden struggles to end a serial killing spree alone, without backing from his comrades or captain. He knows he is a common link to each crime, but can't come forward with full disclosure without essentially ending his career. Worse, he doesn't believe the men left to do the job have the capacity to do it right.

With tight prose, outstanding dialogue, and strong supporting characters, I enjoyed this novel as much for its impressive writing as for its fast-paced and gripping storyline. Highly recommended for thriller fans, readers of police procedurals, and those who like a dark, disturbing read that taps uncomfortable spots in the psyche. This one is definitely an emotional ride.

I'm standing by for the next in the Hayden Glass series, BEAT, coming in September, 2010.


  1. Boulevard was already on my To Get list but has now moved up to the top two. I hope it's as good as this review.
    I love books that make me grouchy when some one or thing interrupts.

    Giggles and Guns

  2. Hi Maribeth,

    So delighted to have you out here talking books with me. I truly loved this book. In fairness, I feel compelled to tell you that he doesn't pull punches on the gore or sex. You've been warned. :)

    Please report back with your impressions!

  3. Okay, I just purchased the book also! That is all I need, another book to add to my TBR pile!

  4. Oh, Rachel, you are an angel. Thank you so much for your wonderful review and all your enthusiasm. What a great surprise to see this!
    Stephen Jay Schwartz

  5. Cory, I think you'll love it!

    Steve, thanks for stopping by. My pleasure to spread the word. :)

  6. Boulevard sounds like a must read and also a guide to new writers how to write a book, suggestive from the very short description presented here.