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Street 8 Reviews
This is a well-written book about some pretty awful people, including a protagonist who's done something so awful you would not want to hang around with him in real life. "Street 8" is set in Miami in the pre-Cocaine Cowboys, pre-Miami Vice days of the '70s, as that particular street was going from 8th Street to what we now know as Calle Ocho. The story centers on the owner of the last Anglo used car lot on the street, ex-Marine Bobby Mead, who has an attractive 17-year-old daughter and an on-again, off-again romance with a doctor. He lives in a rundown hotel on South Beach that has a hole in the window that lets in blowing sand. Mead hires a Cuban salesman who at first does a good job of drawing in his fellow Cubans, then gets mixed up in politics and winds up being shot dead in the car lot office. Then Mead's beaten up by the people who killed his salesmen and offered a deal: Either let them use his garage in exchange for a lot of money, or they will do horrible things to his daughter and kill him too. He agrees, and his life begins to slide off the rails. Fairbairn writes a beautiful sentence, and there are plenty of wonderful scenes in this book, particularly the ones that show us all the wrong turnings Mead took to get to this point in his life, owner of a failing used-car lot. At one point his girlfriend observes that he lives in his miserable hotel room because he's punishing himself for something, and she's right. He's done just about the worst thing a parent can do, and once I read that chapter I had a hard time rooting for him any more. Bobby's a pretty awful person and he really does deserve what life dishes out to him. There's also a chapter concerning his discovery of what his daughter's been up to that is really hard to read because it's so graphic.That said, I didn't see the ending coming, because it's not quite what you expect. So that was good. And I did like the descriptions of what Miami was like in the '70s. But that whole subplot about the daughter makes it hard to recommend to anyone else.
This little-known noir novel, in hardcover, by Douglas Fairbairn (1977) is a gem! It's a dark tale of Miami in its pre-cocaine-cowboy, pre-Miami-Vice days, when the Cuban presence was strong, and when exile politics were in a state of violent flux. I recommend this book to all noir fans and fans of Florida fiction. For a more comprehensive review, see my website http://mikedennisnoir.comThe correct title, by the way, is Street 8.