BOOK REVIEW: 'The Boys of Sabbath Street': Shelly Reuben Returns to Arson With a Magical Story of a Small Town Called Calendar

Reviewed by David M. Kinchen

All of Shelly Reuben's fans -- and I hope there are a lot of them because she's a wonderful writer -- will be pleased with a New Year's gift from the Brooklyn-based, Chicago-born author's "The Boys of Sabbath Street" ( Bernard Street Books, Kindle eBook from, $2.99; Nook eBook from Barnes & Noble, $2.99; and other eBook sites including Apple, Baker and Taylor, eBook pie, etc. 168 pages, file size: 530 KB, available Feb. 14 as a print book, soon as an audio book read by Carrington MacDuffie for Blackstone Audio Books.)

BOOK REVIEW: 'The Boys of Sabbath Street': Shelly Reuben Returns to Arson With a Magical Story of a Small Town Called Calendar


Sharp-eyed readers  -- and I hope all readers of my reviews are sharp eyed -- with recognize MacDuffie's name. She was the performer of the three-disc CD version of Shelly Reuben's "The Man With the Glass Heart"; my review:

As in all of Reuben's books, characters are everything, and "The Boys of Sabbath Street"  is replete with well-drawn characters, including the narrator, Maggie Wakeling; the mayor of the city of Calendar, Artemus Ackerman, a retired magician; Maggie's love interest, fire marshal George Copeland; the widow Claudette Goodwin, and -- of course -- the eponymous "boys": Deacon Spry and Jubilant (JuJu) McBean. The two teen-age boys become instant heroes when they rescue people from a series of fires that plague Calendar.

Artemus is a famous magician, but he's weary of the touring and the changes that have made his profession so special effects oriented. When he sees a plea for a magician to save the scandal plagued city, he decides to return to his roots in Calendar, his hometown, from his base in Pasadena, California and run for mayor. 

Artemus can't clean up Calendar alone, so he enlists his old friend Maggie Wakeling to serve as his publicist and executive assistant. She's just as tired of working in public relations as Artemus is of special effects Las Vegas style magic.

The fires, all on Sabbath Street in Calendar, have complicated Ackerman's plans to turn the once elegant, now shabby Baldwin Theater into a museum of magic. The theater -- on Sabbath Street -- is owned by wealthy widow Claudette Goodwin. Certain that Claudette will never invest serious money to renovate a property on a doomed street Artemus sends Maggie over to the fire department to find out who's starting the fires. That's when Maggie meets George Copeland, who's instantly attracted to the attractive, elegant woman, who's 50 to his 40. Maggie, a widow, resists George's invitation to dinner, saying it's not that he's too young but that he's too old for her!

I've called Shelly Reuben the Queen of Arson in previous reviews. She's a licensed private investigator and licensed arson investigator who knows her field inside and out -- and, of course, she's a wonderful writer. Don't just sit there: Go to the computer and order "The Boys of Sabbath Street."

Shelly Reuben
Shelly Reuben


About the Author

 Shelly Reuben has written eight novels. Her first, Julian Solo, was nominated by the Mystery Writers of America for an Edgar Award and by the Libertarian Futurist Society for a Prometheus Award. Her novel Origin & Cause was nominated for a Falcon Award by the Maltese Falcon Society of Japan. She also writes two newspaper columns and regularly contributes short stories to the Forensic Examiner. A Chicago native, she lives in New York City. The Man with the Glass Heart is her first fable. For David M. Kinchen's reviews of her books, use the search engine at the upper right hand of