2/5/13

Review of The Greeks of Beaubien Street by Suzanne Jenkins

I can't say enough good things about Suzanne Jenkins', The Greeks of Beaubien Street.  This book is an adorable look into a multi-generational Greek-American family based in Detroit, specifically, Greek town, centered around the main character, Jill, a city homicide detective. My favorite theme in this book is the locality.  Jenkins does an amazing job describing the culture, area, and characters that convince the readers they could drive to the streets and buildings referenced throughout the story and knock on a door only to find Jill's beloved father, Gus, greeting them with a warm sandwich to replenish them after their long drive.  I believe anyone reading this book will come away with a sense of the Detroit area that includes local pride, history, and depth. 

While this book is a detective story that includes a well-written murder investigation, more-so it is an investigation into the life of a dedicated local woman with strong roots to the community and even stronger ties to her large, deeply cultural family. I enjoyed Jill's volley between work and family.  At times she uses work as an escape from the rigors of her family traditions that demand her to be a proper Greek girl who seeks marriage and children, while, at others, she breaks from work responsibilities to eat with her father surrounded by familiar sights, sounds, and smells of childhood in his food shop and reminisce about days and times gone by. 

Jill's character offers many delightful sides, but one in particular grabs at a different sense, the psychic one.  As Jill investigates her murder case, she reveals a certain prescience into the life of the victim and those involved in the case surrounding the victim.  While her gift is not specific nor controllable, Jill does use it to guide her investigations with an insight an precision her peers cannot match.  Her reputation as a just detective has granted her a level of elasticity in using this sense with the other investigators along with her superiors in the police department. Her family also accepts her career choice and recognizes her need to practice her gift while giving back to the community and culture that has embraced her people with a totality and ferocity that only Detroiters can manage.

I think this book is a great read for adult and mature teen readers who enjoy a book with interchangeable story lines, heart-warming characters and imaginative settings.  I look forward to reading more from Suzanne Jenkins and give The Greeks of Beaubien Street.

Nikki M

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