“The Southie Pact” A Review by Brian P. Wallace

It’s funny. Kevin Devlin, who wrote “The Southie Pact,” and I have been friends for a long time. We went to High School together. We played basketball at Southie High together. We went to Boston State College together. We both wrote columns for South Boston newspapers. Now, we have both written books. I finished Kevin’s book recently, and it was enlightening, alarming, at times too real, but it had to be written, and it had to be written by someone who was there and who knew the behind the scenes stories. “The Southie Pact” is about a group of close friends, complete with Southie nicknames, who grew up playing hockey at the Murphy Rink, getting their coffees at the Java House and their meals at a small Italian restaurant on L Street. They work out together at the L and play Little League together at Moakley Park. Life changes, however, after one of the friend’s overdoses on a drug. They all make a pact that none of them will follow him to the grave. They also find out that talk is cheap and, one by one, the scourge that has infected an entire community and killed their friend also breaks their pact. It is hard hitting, but it all happened. The OD’s, the cluster suicides, the broken dreams, the broken families, the shattered community that had no idea what to do or who to turn to for help. It seems like overnight a once thriving, close knit community, is burying their children at a prodigious rate. Friends turn on friends as they escalate from percs to OC’s to heroin. What allows one former user to break free from the poison while his, or her, best friend is being waked at O’Briens? That is the overriding question, and only someone like Kevin could even ask the question in a caring manner, which walks the line between so many issues. Unlike all the Southie gangster books which glamorize their kind of life, this book does no such thing. This book hits home. It is well written and suspenseful all in one. There is a nice twist at the end, which I didn’t see coming. Kevin’s characters are people we all know. His use of Southie landmarks like the Sugarbowl, the Heights, the churches, M Street Park, and much more give the book a realistic feel, especially if you are from Southie. He also accurately describes the changing face of South Boston, due to overdevelopment and gentrification, which creates friction in the town. It is on point and totally up to date. I congratulate my friend on a solid book that had to be written and is written by a person who cares, who has written about it and has seen many of the kids he wrote about lost to the street. It is available on Amazon and is a must read. This is a work of fiction based on fact (Note: ‘The Southie Pact’, written by Kevin Devlin can be purchased on Amazon and at local on-line book stores.)