Rockaway is blessed with great natural beauty, and also known for its artists and musicians, but there are also several published authors among us. In fact, the owner of this newspaper published a book years back called “Braving the Waves” about 9/11 and in my opinion should have been made into a movie.
For those not aware, Thomas O’Callaghan has written three fictional novels about murder most foul! If you haven’t read any of them, I highly recommend them, because like Mr. Boyle’s novel, they use Rockaway as a backdrop. It’s fun reading about our own town in a novel. Then of course there is Rockaway’s best dressed man penning the first of a trilogy of books depicting the exploits of none other than, yes you guessed it, the best dressed man!
But recently a friend gave me a novel by an author I didn’t know. The last name was familiar, in fact, it was the same as the celebrated blues musician from Breezy Point, Kearney. And with a little fact checking I found out that author Rusty Kearney was indeed the older brother of Kerry Kearney. Knowing how good Kerry was at his craft, I decided to take a dive into Rusty’s book.
“Winner and Still Champion” by Rusty Kearney is about boxing, but it is also about Rockaway, the Irishtown of old. It takes you through 116th Street, the boardwalk, Playland while describing a fighter’s path toward happiness. If you too take the dive, you will instantly recognize the surroundings as those of your own. Mr. Kearney has an ear for the way people talk, act and live, and it all comes through in his novel. He uses phrases that will click with you as distinctly Rockaway. It is like sharing a story with an old friend over a couple of beers at a local establishment; warm and friendly, ultimately satisfying in a way that only old friends can make you feel.
I’m no book reviewer, but I really do enjoy the fact that we have such talented people who live in the community, that for the most part nobody knows even exist. These folks get their ideas from the very sands that surround us and build tales that entertain us. They weave stories about our summers and winters, family dramas, bars, history that make us connect even more with each other, and love our beach for what it is: the best place in the world to live. By writing with Rockaway as the central location, people all over the country, and even the world, get a special glimpse of this beautiful place.
I recently got to see Kerry Kearney play with a full band at the Iridium on Broadway in Manhattan. It was sensational. And this is the same guy you can see locally for free. He is a talented and giving musician. And now I know that his brother Rusty is just as talented and by using Rockaway as his backdrop, as giving. I will be looking for more Rusty Kearney’s novels to read, because he is certainly a champion writer. This one has movie written all over it too.
Now if we can only get Mr. Boyle back behind the typewriter!!