And yet again, I'm playing catch-up...

Sutphin Boulevard (Five Boroughs Book 1) - Santino Hassell

So here I am finally listening to a series on audio that I'm been dying to read. I loved this story. It's not happy and light or fun and fluffy that's for sure. But what it was...was gripping and painfully told with brutal realism.


Michael and Nunzio have been friends for most of their lives and they've had each other's backs and shared pretty much everything their whole lives... everything except maybe how they really feel about each other and maybe, Micheal's growing dependency on alcohol and prescription drugs. As things heat up between them, Michael's dependencies spiral out of control until he wakes up in the hospital with no real memory of how he got there.


Michael spends so much time trying to maintain the image that he thinks he should show to the world that he loses sight of who he really is and wants to be. Micheal is so wrapped up in himself that what he misses is how much both his friend Nunzio and his brother Raymond both care about and need him. 


For as much as I enjoyed this audio book there were also moments of incredible frustration for me because I've had my own life experiences with people who struggle with addiction so I have to admit sometimes my tolerance and understanding for this isn't what it should or could be but still there were times when my heart ached for Michael and what he was going through while at the same time my frustration was unlimited. It was real life...sometimes we love the person just not who and what they can become.


While I definitely had issues as to how I felt about Michael, I very much liked Nunzio. He was a good friend and cared about Michael...not just as a love interest but as a true friend and his interactions with other characters in the story showed him to be a good person...well, maybe with everyone except David but that's another story because Nunzio really did have his reasons for how he felt about David so we'll give him a pass on that. I was also a little intrigued by Raymond, Michael's brother. While I can't necessarily say that I liked him. I was intrigued and there were definite glimpses of a good and caring person. Raymond struck me as some one who had a little growing up to do and just needed to find out what he wanted from life...just a little time to finish growing up.


Rusty Topsfield was the narrator for this first installment in Santino Hassell's 'Five Boroughs' series and while his narration was consistent and thankfully ticked my basic list of what works for me with an audio book somehow it just ended up being ok. For whatever reason the voices just weren't quite what my mind was imagining, so not a case of good or bad...just a case of the connection not being there for me when it came to the voices. I'm looking forward to the next book 'Sunset Park' it's a different narrator and I'm curious to see if I connect with his voices better.