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Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite
Ben's by Sammy Levitt is a fantasy set in the late 70s. The story follows Torch as gang turf wars, drugs, and deceit surround him. Louis “Torch” Agre was a 19-year-old young man who already had a brush with authority. Living in West Loga, Torch was part of Ben’s, a group of small-time criminals and thugs. Torch is a petty criminal who made a simple living. However, things got tough when Bah-Bah, a loan shark and gambler, had to move his business to where Torch and the group were. What happened next was utter chaos as Torch and his buddies struggled to survive in the mess of drugs and bad cops. Everyone wanted something and Torch just wanted to survive.
The tension was running from the moment Ben's began. Author Sammy Levitt worked hard to create a tense atmosphere and made sure it remained an integral part of the story until the very end. I couldn’t understand Torch very well. He didn’t look like a thug, but he acted like one. His last brush with authority and a clear advantage gave him a confidence boost that he implemented in his current situation. I thoroughly enjoyed the high-intensity action that seemed to be a whole character in the story. The flow was fantastic and allowed me to feel more at ease as tension ran high. Washington was a hoot, Bah-Bah was despicable, to say the least, and Maria was a good support system. All in all, a great story that will be loved by readers in Philadelphia and those who lived through the tough 70s.