Book Review — Floodgate: A Novel

Floodgate by Johnny Shaw

I generally stay away from contemporary fiction in my reading except when I need to clear my mind or give it a vacation from non-fiction and poetry… sort of a day off for my brain cells. I saw some reviews for Floodgate and that interested me. My fiction reading mind tends towards dark (Selby Jr), noir, or slightly twisted (J.G. Ballard). I also like the time period of the 1970s and 1980s. It is when I grew up and where I grew up.

Auction City, where the story takes place, is far worse than the worst part of Cleveland, where I grew up. The city itself was destroyed in violence and reborn in a slight less corrupt and slightly less violent area. Former honest cop Andy Destra is out to prove the chief of police is corrupt and end his career as he ended Andy’s. Andy, however, finds there is much more going on and plenty of people who do not want Andy to continue on his personal investigation.

The story jumps back and forth in time and takes its time revealing its secrets. There are many 1970s and 1980s references in the story from The Rockford Files and C.H.U.D. to Quiet Riot and “Super Mario Brothers”. Quite often I had that suspenseful feeling of being in a Warriors type movie throughout the book. The storyline is enough to keep the reader’s interest then add in colorful characters, witty remarks, and suddenly you have a winning novel. I thoroughly enjoyed Floodgate. It took me back to the happy days of my youth buying pulpy paperbacks from a turnstile display rack at the local convenience store.

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