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Van Bakel Beach Books In Order

Publication Order of Van Bakel Beach Books

The Coney Islad Hot Dog Heist (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Rockaway Run (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Battle for the Canal (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

The Van Bakel Beach series is a series of novels by American author Kimberly Meehan. Meehan first published the first novel in the critically acclaimed series, “The Coney Island Hot Dog Heist” that established her as one of the most promising novelists in her genre. The author has been very prolific ever since she published her first novel in August 2016. She published two more novels in the series in quick succession in September and October of 2016 and another in 2011, novels that quickly became fan favorites. The series is set in Van Bakel Beach in Brooklyn, and follows the life and times of several loser friends that can never seem to make anything of their lives. Each novel in the series features the same characters all of whom live in Van Bakel Beach, and all of which are just as hopeless and rudderless. As a person that has spent 17 years of her adult life in Brooklyn, the author writes of the different types of people that she has encountered in the low-income neighborhoods. Very entertaining reads, they tell the story of a group of losers that earn their living through a variety of swindles and fraudulent business that typically end in failure. Ultimately, the novel is a story of personal growth and development as seen in the eyes of the New York underworld’s most invisible.

The lead characters in the series are Eddie Gillepsie, Joey Sallazzo, Jr, and Mickey O’Sullivan, all of whom develop over the course of the series even as they remain obsessed with making quick money. The three friends are born in the dark, hot, and smelly shanties of Brooklyn, drawn together by their quest to better their lives. Even as the three friends have the same objective of achieving financial security and getting control of their lives, they are different personalities. Eddie is always on the lookout for the big hit and is the one that always discovers when there is something to steal from somewhere. Mickey his friend is the one with all the plans to get out of their dire predicament. He is sick of the constraints that having no money place on him, and as such, he works over time to make plans together with his three friends. Joey Sallazo their friend is more grounded and though he is a classic grifter, he usually comes up with grander plans. When we are introduced to Sallazo, he just lost his wife, his job, and his girlfriend, which only serves to make him even more motivated to make something of his life. The three friends typically work with a motley crew of fellow beach rats to help them plan and execute their moneymaking schemes. The three lifelong friends have to fight with gangs, junkie cops, and trannies, all of whom play a significant role in molding the friends into even better scam artists over the course of the novels.

The Van Bakel Beach series of novels are fun-filled and interesting novels that tell the story of some of the most complex and intriguing characters in the thriller genre. With influences from her jargon article days, Kimberly Meehan creates a world full of chaos that is full of twists and turns of plot. The lives and personalities of the protagonists are just as chaotic and complex. Taking some of the most important themes in America such as the American Dream, the author makes the case that not everyone can achieve it while also asserting that with effort it is achievable. Eddie Gillepsie’s quest to improve himself to the extent that he runs for election is one of the best examples of this paradox. The theme of violent crime is also juxtaposed with nonviolent crime, with the latter deemed more profitable as is evidenced in the second novels scheme that makes a lot of money for the team of fraudsters. The essence of the novels is to represent the struggles of the young men born into poverty, and their use of the opportunities in their environment to make something of themselves. However, the overriding message is that it is almost impossible to escape your history as evidenced by the life of Gillepsie. The first novel in the series “The Coney Island Hot Dog Heist” made the shortlist for the 2017 Next Generation Indie Books Award.

The “Coney Island Hot Dog Heis”t is an excellent novel in the Van Bakel Beach series of novels that takes the reader deep inside the workings of New York City’s underworld. Van Bakel Beach is a shantytown where most of the residents love to call themselves beach rats and act just the same. The novel follows the life and times of three friends born and raised in the same neighborhood. Eddie Gillepsie like many people from his neighborhood is perpetually underemployed, he cannot get or keep a girlfriend, and is generally a loser. Seeking a new life for himself, he discovers that one of the houses on his street is full of beautiful Russian mail order brides. He teams up with Mickey his best friend and a classic grifter, who thinks he can get him the money to enable him get to the Russian mail order brides. While Mickey thinks he has a plan, Joey Sallazo another of Gillepsie’s friends comes up with an even better plan. He assembles a motley crew of criminals to plan and execute the burglary of Coney Island’s Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Restaurant. After spending weeks scheming, planning and dealing with motorcycle gangs, cops, and trannies, they finally execute without a hitch. Until all hell breaks loose when they check the loot bag and discover they have been robbed.

The “Rockaway Run” sees the lifelong friends from Van Bakel Beach suffering in the sweltering heat of Brooklyn in summer. Joey Sallazo just lost everything he ever cared for, Mickey O’Sullivan knows he could do better, and Eddie cannot stand always being a loser. Living in the crowded, smelly, and hot suburb, the friends decide that they have nothing to lose and as such, they should go for one last big score to set up themselves for life. However, this is not a smash and grab job neither will it involve any outsiders like the last one. Hiring the mysterious and beautiful Mallory Fenton to help them set up a website, the team intends to make some money by organizing a fugazi marathon. The Rockaway Run is supposed to be an annual run that collects money to help find an old friend that went missing months before. Their plan works and soon the team discovers that there are many people interested in their run. But now they have to organize the marathon if they are to get their hands on the more than 3 million dollars collected.

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