Publisher: David A. Yuzuk (2012)
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Loaded with grim brutality and remorseless betrayals, Cities of Sand and Stone will appeal to fans of action and temerarious exploits. A crooked police captain, Russian crime bosses, the harshness of Brooklyn’s mean streets lorded over by N.Y. Mafia kingpins and the brutal Florida underworld meet one Michael Frakes, an Iraq military hero who is the polar opposite: thoroughly rule-bound, honest, and brave police officer of Florida’s Beachside P.D.

This mobster story defies specific categorization with its journalistic style and omniscient point of view. David A. Yuzuk and Neil L. Yuzuk, the father and son team who authored the Beachside P.D. series, cast the worst type of men bent on destruction in this prequel to the series. In the opening chapters, readers will learn about the historical and biographical information of these brutal characters—some who are probably psychopaths. Initially, without a main narrator, it may be a challenge to sort out who is a principal character and who has a minor role, so tracking characters may be mildly difficult in the beginning. But do hang on, as the story will come into focus.

When the New York Mafia becomes concerned about goings-on in South Florida, they send down one of their own (the dangerously violent Angelo Tedeschi) to infiltrate the Beachside P.D. as an undercover officer working for Frakes.

To intensify the brewing storm, enter Viktor Matyushenko, a Muscovite intent on expanding his empire into the new world– even if it means taking on the N.Y. Mafia–to become a force to be reckoned with in Florida’s underground. Vicious brutality and betrayals are prominent in this story: as reflected by the number of bodies and the amount of blood spattered throughout the hard-hitting pages. The bad guys and the good guys’ mettle are tested to the max as the ante increases on all fronts.

Fans of Mafia tales and police procedurals will appreciate the authenticity from the authors’ experience with military and law enforcement. Readers are informed of the costs and brands of the mobsters’ clothing to descriptions of a wide range of weapons, blow-by-blow combat tactics, and police procedures and jargon.

If you enjoy your novels with an intricate story line, lots of hard-hitting action, gritty dialogue, and authentic detailing, then the Beachside P.D. series by the talented Yuzuk father and son team is for you.  “Cities of Sand and Stone” (2012) is the prequel to the first two books in the series: “The Gypsy Hunter” (2011) and “The Reluctant Knight” (2011).