Ten Mile River by Paul Griffin

Jose is small, fast, and knows how to use his impressive six-pack to charm the neighborhood shorties into giving him more than the time of day. Ray is big, slow-moving (but not slow-thinking) and can usually ONLY get the shorties to give him the time, nothing more. These two best friends, complete opposites but brothers in every way but blood, found each other after they were lost in the NYC foster care system. Now, far from the dubious care of over-scheduled social workers and grim foster parents, Jose and Ray have formed their own family off of Ten Mile Park, past 145th Street in Harlem. There, they share a vacant station house with a pack of abandoned pit bulls and enjoy all the comforts of a real home, courtesy of a streetlight feed that powers their stolen appliances. But when Ray meets Trini, she of the dreamy black eyes and warm laugh, Ray and Jose’s relationship shifts from a comfortable twosome to an uneasy threesome. Trini makes Ray want to do something more with his life than commit petty crimes for pocket change. But how do you tell your best friend that you’ve outgrown him? And were do you find the tools to survive in the straight world when all you know is the street? This gritty debut novel by newbie author Paul Griffin reminded me of my favorite book by E.R. Frank. If you like her work, or that of Coe Booth, you’re definitely going to want to take a sail down Ten Mile.

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