Author Benjamin Lieberman
Reviewed by Fran Lewis
Odd jobs centers around a college student named Kevin Davenport who takes anything but a nine to five normal job to make ends meet. Taking the reader inside the mind of one young man whose voice is heard from page one and who tells the story in his very own way and time. Told in the first person narrative, the reader becomes one and the same with our main character as he takes you on a face paced and rocky ride of a lifetime hoping to survive. Kevin Davenport introduces the reader to the inner workings of a corrupt and dangerous business: Kosher World Meat Factory. Thinking that he has the odd job from heaven which will help him finance the lifestyle he wants and tuition for school, Kevin takes on more than just hauling carcasses of beef, pulling skin off of a tongue and learning how to make pastrami towers. Odd Jobs by author Ben Lieberman takes us into the world of Kosher World Meat Market, the ins and outs of what really transpires, the graft, the deceit and the murders that occur while Kevin is just trying to survive.
Kevin Davenport, our main character, witnessed the deaths of his father and sister leaving him to care for himself and his mother. Accustomed to taking Odd Jobs to make ends meet to pay for his tuition and the finer things in life so many desire, Kevin gets sucked in. Friends that he made introduced him to living high on the hog and indulging in pastimes that he really could not afford. Kevin did a favor for one man and that one favor changed the course of his life forever. Becoming a product of his own environment and needing fast cash, he allowed himself to work for this man, Jimmy Baldacci not realizing what that entailed. Kosher World Meat Factory was anything but Kosher in its management and daily operations. As he became more ensconced in the daily operations of the company he crossed many lines, angered many people and formed several wrong alliances, some which might prove deadly. Learning some secret truths about what was really behind the lack of production and numbers in the company, joining forces with those behind it, betrayed a trust that he had developed with his boss and friend Sev, Kevin is about to lose even more. Pulled in several directions, Kevin now has to decide which road or path to follow and whether he would remain someone’s valuable commodity concerned about the all might dollar, or a man with integrity and loyal to his friends. As Kevin immersed himself into the real structure of Kosher World Meat Market he finds out what is really behind the lack of production in this company. What happens next will seal his fate and change the course and direction of his life.
Decisions you make should be your own and not forced on you by others. The consequences born by those decisions are yours alone. Imagine your life hinging on the decisions that others have inflicted upon you to make because you have decided to follow the wrong road in life in order to get what you want: STATUS and Acceptance and Power! Status comes at a very high price when gaining importance and reaping wealth deteriorates your inner core, your very nature and underlying being. As you choose the many roads and paths and become enveloped in the will and desires of gaining status, acceptance and importance you might sink deeper and deeper in a dark pool filled with quicksand hoping that someone will pull you out before it’s too late.
As Kevin is speaking with Sev his immediate supervisor, he inadvertently learns the truth behind the deaths of his father and sister. Anger sets in and then rage and what happens will not surprise the reader or Kevin. But, just how much of his soul and integrity will he sell in order to stay on top and in the good graces of those in charge. What will happen if he falls from grace and realizes just how deep and dangerous the waters are? Will he ever be able to swim back to the top or will he sink? Murder is serious and never really justified but some feel it’s the only way to avenge the death of someone they loved and cared for. Kevin crosses that line, finds the killer of his sister and father and slowly lowers himself deeper into that quicksand until only his head is sticking out. But, he’s not done yet. Deceit runs deep within him and although this powerful man was once his friend, Kevin hopes to become his downfall. But, can he do it with the meager help that he has? Formulating a plan to take down Baldacci and entering into other areas of employment to supplement his cash, our main character can add bookie, numbers man, drug dealer, and more to his employment resume. Keeping afloat will not be easy and covering all the odds and bets made by some powerful people will require creativity, manpower and more to prevent more deaths as they mount up. With his college friends Loot and Carey they manage to become entrepreneurs in many illegal fields, forging ahead and hoping to unglue Baldacci , Petro and many others. Hoping to bring Petro into his corner and away from Baldacci.
Standing at the center of a dangerous intersection not knowing which direction to walk in when the light turns green. Imagine the outcome of all of your decisions, life’s choices and future hinging on that green light and which you decide to walk. Kevin Davenport is about to approach that light what will he do next?
Realizing that the law will not be able to aide him in bringing this man down Kevin becomes no better than him, justifying his reasons for being as corrupt, deceitful, dishonest and unscrupulous as this man in order to bring him down. Vigilante justice is not new and many belief in it. Kevin has literally sold his soul, moral integrity in order to avenge the deaths of his sister and father. But, is this the answer? Added to that is his new girlfriend Rocky, who has issues of her own and had become part of his world.
Author Ben Lieberman created a character with guts, gum shin, fortitude, determined, persistent and methodical mind who does not give in to fear, force or failure. Kevin Davenport is different from most young men. Using what the enemy does best and fighting back by taking over what the other side has is his way of creating, in his mind, justice for his family’s deaths. Spying on the other side, feeding information to someone who wants to get close to Baldacci, he rigs his own plan to get everything, but can he or will he when things go awry, money is lost and bets need to be covered. With his loyal friends Loot, Carey, Sev and the help of Special Forces, they unleash a plan that will that sends Baldacci hiding in fear, his accomplice thinking he’s home free and one young man from Hempstead avenging more than just his family. Relentless in his pursuit for justice, an ending that will give the reader pause for thought and a character who is resourceful and unyielding, he will have to decide which way to go when that light at that dangerous intersection turns green and one final decision must be made. With strong dialogue that allows the reader to become one and the same with the main character, you feel every punch, understand his frustrations and cheer for his victory, but at what cost? Is there really a winner at the end or is Kevin still fighting for his life and a place in this world when all is said and done? Will he win or will he be totally covered in quicksand with no way out?
Lives hang in the balance and others will be lost. Friendships will deteriorate, hardships will be endured as murder and corruption reign and how the end plays out will surprise the reader and keep you wondering about the true definition of justice and whether it was rightfully served. Kevin Davenport: What is next for him? This is one novel you want to read, odd jobs that might having you thinking twice before you undertake them, fast cash that can be made but is it worth the risk? What would you have done in if you were Kevin? Think about it but not until you read the book and get all the facts and weigh the evidence for yourself. Odd Jobs a must read and now endorsed by this reviewer.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer
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