I love a good crime story, so I was attracted to Trouble at Tarpon Springs: An Electric Eclectic Book by C.A. Keith. Knowing nothing about Tarpon Springs, Florida, I was fascinated by the author’s introduction to the book, specifically the information on the real town of Tarpon Springs. The opening provided a neat way to visualize the settings used in the pages.
Keith sets the tone from the very first page of the tale. Using language that fits well with the “criminal” slant of the story, Keith draws the reader in. Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys? It doesn’t take long to identify Joey Christopoulus as a thug. He may be a boss thug, but he is a thug none the less. Having inherited the family fishery business, he has turned a respected business into a front for drug and stolen goods smuggling. Joey has one weakness, and her name is Amy.
Amy is a singer at a local venue, and she is far from respectable. She uses her body to seduce men and rob them or use them for financial gains. Amy has met her match in Joey. He has his gang keeping eyes on her at all times. He doesn’t trust the sultry songstress, and he has definite plans for their future together. However, it appears plans may have hit a snag with the arrival of a wealthy Italian jeweler, Antonio Maducci.
The story that follows is sometimes confusing. Occasionally the characters seem to slip out of their roles and shift suddenly to caring individuals. The attraction between Amy and Antonio is an example of this. Her response to the swarthy stud seems out of character.
The premise of the story is good, and the crime is well thought out. There are bumps in the road which stretch believability, but it is fiction. In spite of some inconsistencies, the story is compelling. There are some grammatical and structural issues throughout the book. With an additional edit and some slight restructuring, this could be a 5-star novelette. It is still worth a read if you enjoy gangster crime.