Thursday, August 18, 2022

The Prince of Steel Pier by Stacy Nockowitz

The Prince of Steel Pier by Stacy Nockowitz
Format:  E- ARC
Publisher:  Kar-Ben Publishing
Number of pages:  248
Publishing:  September 1st, 2022
Source:  publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Opening Line:  It's nine o'clock on Friday morning, and Mrs. Goldberg is definitely dead." 

For eleven months out of the year, Joey, his mom and brothers spend their time in Philly.  For that other month, they stay in Atlantic City at their grandparents' hotel.  Joey and his brothers wait tables for Uncle Sol and lend their grandparents, Bubbe and Zeyde a hand where needed.  Whenever he can escape the hotel, Joey can be found playing Skee-Ball at the arcade, he's actually quite skilled, so much that he even draws the attention of a local mobster, Artie, who offers him a job chaperoning his daughter around Atlantic City.  Joey develops an instant liking to Artie, they both enjoyed reading "The Once and Future King," and Artie makes him feel important because he takes Joey seriously, unlike his family.  Joey relishes in being "one of the guys."  Then Joey overhears two of Artie's men making a deal and a special request from Artie himself, has Joey questioning whether he can truly trust these new friends he's made.   

The Prince of Steel Pier has a very nostalgic feel.  There's pre-casino Atlantic City and the boardwalk during the 1970's, our Skee-Ball champion, saltwater taffy and all the feels of summer time at the arcade.  I just adored Joey and his extended Jewish family, including his older brothers, Reuben and Simon, younger brother Ben, his mom, Bubbe, Zeyde and even Uncle Sol.    I could so relate to Joey and being a middle kid, teased by your older siblings and not yet old enough to be taken seriously.  That feeling of being distant from your family, and not feeling respected.  It's no wonder that Joey connects so easily to Artie and his gang.  They made him feel strong and confident, laid praise on him for his Skee-Ball skills and he's even given the responsibility of being a companion for Artie's daughter.  It's also not surprising when he lays trust in someone he shouldn't and things start to go horribly wrong.  Being "one of the guys" isn't all it's cracked up to be.  Growing up I remember being told that the only thing you could really depend on were your family and Joey also seems to learn this lesson.  In the end he begins to recognize that his family will always be there to support him and I just loved how the story resolved.  Overall, I really enjoyed the setting and plot.  I was  pleasantly surprised to learn that the authors own grandparents owned the St. Charles Hotel and that she'd spent many a summer on the shores and visiting Steel Pier. You can certainly feel the authors love for Atlantic City and her connection to the city and it did remind me of my time in Atlantic City, and will certainly appeal to fans of arcades, classic amusement park rides and visits to the shore.    


  1. So glad you enjoyed this book. It's on my TBR list.

  2. Sounds like it will appeal to a lot of people! I love the opening line... :)

  3. So glad you're rejoining the Monday MMGM.