*Finalist—Tucson Festival of Books *Finalist—IAN Book Awards *Semifinalist—Kindle Book Awards
George thought he’d finally escaped Shawna by picking up an easy bartending gig in Bocas del Toro, Panama.
With an extra $400/month to edit an online love column keeping him afloat, he spends his days swimming and sinking beers with his roommate PJ.
Does the occasional female tourist ever sleepover? Sure. But that’s nothing compared to PJ’s scorecard. PJ should be registered with the Center for Disease Control.
Warm water, cold beers and no Shawna—life couldn’t be better on the island. Until George takes a little road trip to Colombia. Raúl, his boss at the bar, offered him a free ride. He always knew Raúl moved a little bit of cocaine. Who doesn’t? But guns?
So… he absolutely should not write Shawna. That clever soul-crushing beauty destroyed him. Maybe it would be OK if she came for just a week? Just one week...
The book takes place in Panama with the main character an American working in a Beach Bar – sounds like the perfect beach read for the summer – doesn’t it? George, the main character, has a strong heart and a dream job except for working for one of the largest drug lords in the area, the pollution and a few issues with the women in his life. I may not have been the target demographic for this book (I’m thinking 20-30’s) but I still enjoyed the naiveté of youth and the sense of chucking it all to have very limited responsibilities. There are a few R rated scenes but they totally work with the story line. This is well written and edited – something you do not see in all Indie’s first books.
This was a really easy quick read. I thought it was interesting to read a story from a man’s perspective for a change, especially about his relationship. The main character was likable and relatable in the sense that he didn’t quite know what he was doing with his life yet but trying to enjoy it along the way. Was not expecting the ending though so I may have to read the second book in the series.
I was hooked from the opening paragraph of Bocas: “Someone left a bump of cocaine on the top of the urinal. I finish, zip up, and grab a towel. It seems like a waste to clean it up and throw it away, but there’s already enough cocaine in Bocas.”
In just a few words, author Thomas Barron, sets the tone for his novel and lets the reader know that they are in for an engaging ride.
Bocas tells the tale of George, an American in his late twenties who is taking a break from disappointing setbacks in his life, notably his failure to get into a graduate program but mostly the heartbreak of betrayal from a relationship that is as toxic as it is intoxicating to him. George finds himself embroiled in a criminal enterprise that culminates in dramatic fashion in the novel’s final pages but Bocas is more about relationships and character development than it is about arms dealing and drug cartels.
Bocas is a wonderfully unique novel filled with fully realized and flawed characters, humor, charm, poignant moments, and sharp observations on life and relationships. Barron’s writing is refreshingly spare but filled with insight into what makes us all tick. He also breathes life into the islands of Bocas del Toro making the Panamanian province a character in the novel as vivid and real as the sand between your toes on a lonely stretch of beach.
Highly recommended. Bocas is well-written, clever, and perceptive - in fact, it may provide readers with more insight into the complicated relationships between men and women than that Mars and Venus book could ever hope to do. I look forward to the further adventures of George, possibly down under.
I really enjoyed this book. I loved the characters, writing style, sense of humor, and observations...(with some very important environmental ones!) Thomas M. Barron took a not so new tropical mystery plot and turned it into an awesome refreshing story! I'm looking forward to reading the next one!! :D
This book was entered in The Wishing Shelf Book Awards. This is what our readers thought: Title: Bocas Author: Thomas M. Barron
Star Rating: 5 Stars Number of Readers: 20 Stats Editing: 10/10 Writing Style: 10/10 Content: 10/10 Cover: 9/10 Of the 20 readers: 20 would read another book by this author. 15 thought the cover was good or excellent. 20 felt it was easy to follow. 20 would recommend this story to another reader to try. Of all the readers, 11 felt the author’s strongest skill was ‘plotting a story’. Of all the readers, 9 felt the author’s strongest skill was ‘developing the characters’. 19 felt the pacing was good or excellent. 20 thought the author understood the readership and what they wanted.
Readers’ Comments ‘Panama sounds wonderful. I think I’d enjoy this character’s lifestyle. But, possibly, I’m a bit old now. Funny book; I laughed a lot.’ Male reader, aged 52 ‘This author is bloody good! Loved the tropical setting but it wat the timing of the humour that I enjoyed the most.’ Male reader, aged 65 ‘Short read. I would have liked to read on but I guess I will have to track down the sequels.’ Female reader, aged 32 ‘Short, sharp dialogue and paragraphing helps to keep this pacey and engaging. The author’s best skill is character development. All of them, even the secondary characters, were intriguing. With a sunny, cultural setting and plenty of sharp witty comments, this is a gem of a read.’ Female reader, aged 51 ‘Half travel book, half ‘Men Behaving Badly. A little different but always very good. I will be hunting out the rest of the promised trilogy.’ Male reader, aged 32
To Sum It Up: ‘A fun story of love and adventure in Panama. A BRONZE MEDAL WINNER and highly recommended.’ The Wishing Shelf Book Awards
This was a great break from all the heavy, and I really enjoyed it.
The story takes place in a Panamanian neo-paradise, where the main character (George) has settled in for a break from life. His break from life, living at the beach and teaching kids to swim, may be turning into his life altogether. He’s split from his girlfriend (Shawna) and any career he might have had in journalism back in the US. And he’s living as roommates with PJ, from Australia, who lives the life of randomness, and Tsvika, from Israel, who may or may not be a spy, a gangster, or just somebody lacking simple interpersonal skills (or maybe all of the above).
George works the bar at the Wreck Deck, for Raul, who is in the drug business. George is fine so long as he doesn’t rub Raul the wrong way or get too smart or nosey.
Things go along, really for about three quarters of the book, with neo-paradise intact. Neo-paradise is fragile though. You should never change anything. Put everything you touch right back where it was and try not to think.
But the inevitable happens. One card moves, and the whole house starts to shake. No spoilers, but the action, which went along at a tropical stroll up to then, goes into sprint mode.
I’m not telling much of the plot, but this was just a lot of fun. It flew past my eyes, and after a lot of heavier reading, it was a welcome escape.
And this is just the first part of a trilogy. Unlike a lot of trilogies, this book has an ending, if not a resolution of everything. So I feel like I can take some time before going on to the next installment without too many burning questions or yeah-buts.
Truth in advertising, I read this book as a recommendation and a free offer from the author. I rarely accept such offers, but this one just sounded good. And it made good on its promise.
The perfect escape from reality read. Thomas Barron writing style puts the reader immediately in a world that you don’t want to leave. Even the book itself feels great to hold in your hands. Thank goodness the vacation doesn’t have to end when you finish Bocas. Be sure to get Bronte and Bolinas, the other two books in the Trilogy. Best literary journeys that I’ve taken. Let’s hope Barron writes a fourth novel!
Most of us can relate to that period of young adulthood where you're trying to figure out what you want to do for the rest of your life. Bocas takes this part of self-discovery and places it in a beautiful setting, adds a love story, adds a friendship layer and sprinkles in some grit, mystery and overall fun to create a truly engaging story. I pray it has a sequel and it comes out soon.
Beautifully and intelligently written, this book is full of wit, wry humor, twists and turns, and so much heart, as narrated by the very relatable main character - relatable in spite of what he finds himself embroiled in. More than just a fun beach read, it's choc full of life commentary that will give you pause and make you chuckle. Loved it.
This is one of those book that just flows from one thing to another and somehow keeps you reading to the very end. Enjoyed George and his cohorts (PJ, Raul, Tsvika, etc.) and the entire Bocas scene. It was a fast and fun read and I can't wait to see what's in store in Australia. I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway for this honest review.
this was a simple read and i finished it fairly quickly but there was something about it that made me not wanna put it down! it was like a vacation from the real world in the form of a heartbroken man trying to get over his cheating ex. good read, but not sure if i’ll read the next two in the trilogy 😁
Fun, clever, and at times poignant, Bocas is a highly enjoyable read, with memorable characters, including the Panamanian tourist town of Bocas itself. The friendship between the main character, George, and his roommate PJ gives the story a lot of heart.
Okay this book is just Fantastic. Would give it a 100 star rating based on the fact that I read it within a week. I could not put it down. Thomas is an excellent writer, and a very favorite Author of mine. If you haven’t read this book... well what are you even doing with your life? READ THIS
Somewhere between 3-4 stars. It kept my attention and I wanted to find out where it was going but the end felt too rushed and not a big enough payoff/resolution. Very obviously leads the reader right to the sequel.
Barron’s voice is distinct and witty; I thoroughly enjoyed keeping up with George’s internal babbles. Heavy dialogue between quirky characters drives the story along. I loved that you could never tell which way anything was going to go, until Barron took it there. I laughed out loud frequently! Looking forward to what goes on down under..
If you are not reading this on vacation it will make you wish you were! This is the first in a three part series and I’ll read the next two for sure. Almost reads more like a screen play then a book - I can definitely see this being made into a movie.