A Snapshot at a Time In History

3.75 out of 5 stars

Father Divine’s Bikes, other than being a hard title to remember (I kept calling it Father’s Divine Bikes when referring to it to my wife or other when talking about it) tells a story about World War II era Newark.  It’s a story about kids and it’s also a story about gangsters.

Bassett does a phenomenal job describing Neward and what going on in and around the city during wartime.  He goes into a ton of detail around this and spends quite a bit of time on it.  He also does a pretty good job introducing and explaining who each new character was.

I ran into some problems with these descriptions though – I like detail and I like to know who people are – but sometimes an author can spend too much time describing things and lose parts of the story.  Sadly, that happened to me numerous times throughout Bikes.

Once we got into the more back-and-forth parts of the story – it picked up a bit but it was pretty late in the novel.   Bassett’s writing style lends itself to his background (Newspaper) just due to the way that he would describe things.

The things that I enjoyed about the story was that it was really easy-reading.  It was one of those books that just flows and doesn’t pull you out of the moment for random things.  Sure, there may have been some extra detail here and there, but overall the story did flow well throughout.

Bassett wrote a nice fictionalized story that takes place in a moment in history that I enjoyed reading about.  Father Divine’s Bikes was a story that I’m glad that I picked up, even with what I described above.  Because it took place during WWII and gave some history along with fictionalized parts, I ended up liking the book despite some of the flaws that I personally had with it.  I guarantee other people will like it and see no flaws at all (I’m not a fan of Stephen King – he over-describes stuff as well and tons of people love his work!)

I thought that George Kuch did a good job narrating this book. He kind of had a news reporter voice, which in the case of this book, it really helped the historic feel of it.

There is some language in this that some people may not enjoy – but it didn’t bother me.  I just wanted to mention it since I saw a bunch of other reviews that talked about the speech and things that were talked about.  Unfortunately, it seems like they forgot that it took place in 1945.

Book Description:

Father Divine’s Bikes by Steve Bassett (Narrated by George Kuch)four-stars
Father Divine's Bikes by Steve Bassett
Narrator: George Kuch
Length: 11 hrs and 56 mins
Series: Passaic River Trilogy #1
Published by Self Published on December 26th 2018
Genres: Crime
Pages: 324
Format: Audiobook

Father Divine's Bikes, a finalist in the 2018 International Book Awards (American Book Fest), paints a gangster war, three murders, a gun-toting paperboy, and the numbers racket into a dark mosaic that exposes the underbelly of 1945 Newark, a decaying city. Two altar boys are seduced into this corrupt world from which there is little hope of escape. They fail to imagine the tragic fate that awaits them. During Steve Bassett’s tenure as an Urban Affairs investigative reporter for the Associated Press, he covered urban unrest extensively. In 1967, Newark was devastated by one of the deadliest race riots during that turbulent decade. More than twenty persons were killed and entire neighborhoods reduced to ashes, including the one where he grew up. When he returned to Newark and walked up Springfield Avenue, he was sickened by what he saw. Everything was gone. His book exposes the bitter origins of this tragedy.

I received this book for free. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


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