Johnny Shaw’s FLOODGATE Reviewed

Johnny Shaw
February 2016
Thomas and Mercer

Andy Destra was a (mostly) honest cop operating in a completely corrupt city. When Andy starts digging into a case and following a trail of suspicious money to its origins, the Auction City assistant chief of police finds a way to remove Andy and some other honest cops from the force. Now unemployed, Andy becomes more than a little obsessed with researching the city and its history of corruption—and looking for a way to take the assistant chief down. While visiting his feisty adoptive mother Champ, Andy meets a mysterious woman—and following her trail leads him into the true story of Auction City and how a small group of criminals called Floodgate regulate all the larger criminal organizations and broker peace between them—groups that include the cops and the church. When Andy unknowingly steps on a political land mine by taking action against his old nemesis the assistant chief, the city looks as though it might tear itself apart yet again—unless Floodgate can navigate the warring factions and bring it back under control…but at what price?

The narrative bounces between present day Auction City and the same city in the 1920’s when the warring underworld factions literally burned the city down—giving birth to the group known as Floodgate. The whole premise of the group and the novel is fascinating—and ambitious—but Shaw pulls it off without breaking a sweat.

I felt as though I was reading a novelized Quentin Tarrantino movie in the best possible way—darkly comic and at times laugh out loud funny, even during the harshest moments of violence, with a slew of badass female characters. In fact, Andy Destra may have been a cop, but the women he’s surrounded by are leaps and bounds more deadly—poor Andy is even something of a liability in an action sequence…he’s really more of a researcher than a fighting machine. But his honesty and quest for the truth make him an endearing and lovable character, even when the ladies are stealing the show.

In addition to an investigation of corruption on a large scale, FLOODGATE also penetrates deeper waters with an exploration of the search for family—and what it means when you are faced with the reality of finding it. At once moving and funny with a relentless clip of action, FLOODGATE is definitely a book you won’t want to miss.
Erica Ruth Neubauer