Book Review: Cream City Hustle


Cream City Hustle Cover - Full SizeSo, I was perusing through James’ Retirement Savvy blog a couple of weeks ago, and found out that he had just published a book called Cream City Hustle .  How cool is that?  Now, I’m not generally a fan of, or do I ever, read fiction.  I’m just a non-fiction girl: we must always be learning, learning, learning children. 🙂  But when James wrote that his fiction book was a personal finance fiction book, how could anyone who loves personal finance not be intrigued by that?  For the first time in many, many years, I put a fiction book on my list of “to buys” and went about life.  Very shortly thereafter, James sent me a copy of the book and asked for my thoughts.  Woohoo!  This would mean that I have to force myself to sit down, have some time to myself, and immerse myself in a good fiction read.  Oh, darn. 😉 





The story is set in a drug-riddled section of Milwaukee.  Having grown up in the heart of the world of drugs, gangs and prostitution in inner city St. Paul, (yes, I was very much a fish out of water.  I never had much targeted trouble there simply because I think most people were so shocked by the appearance of a skinny white girl dressed in leggings and a poofy Madonna-type skirt, complete with 80’s big hair in their rough and tumble neighborhood. 🙂 )  I know well the life of drugs and drug dealers, so I was eager to see if James’ story had a truthful ring to it.

It does.  Two of my requirements for liking fiction reads is that they are suspenseful, and truthful. Cream City Hustle is definitely both.  Without giving too much away, I’ll tell you that it follows the story of a young black man who grew up in a drug and gang-infested area of Milwaukee.  Marcus, despite his troubled neighborhood, has a strong family with parents that are loving, supportive, and always work to make sure he understands the importance of living a good and purposeful life.  He has a solid relationship with his younger brother, and Marcus also has dreams:  Dreams of college, a career and a successful life.

But Marcus doesn’t want to go to college and graduate with tens of thousands of dollars in debt.  He’s learned from watching those around him that  a life enslaved to debt is no way to live.  Marcus also knows that his dreams of paying for college in cash aren’t going to be fulfilled by working at his job at McDonald’s forever.  So Marcus, being a dedicated worker and a resourceful guy, turns to dealing drugs to raise the money he needs, telling himself that dealing is simply a means to a better end.  As he works his meager job and sells his drugs for extra money, Marcus also works to educate himself on the ways of personal finance so that when he gets the cash, he’ll know what to do with it.

I fell in love with Marcus right away.  James did a great job of writing in a way that draws readers in and makes them be able to identify with and connect with Marcus.  I found myself rooting for him right off the bat.

But anyone who knows anything about life as a dealer knows that it’s not as simple as “make enough money so I can go to college and then get out of this racket”.  Marcus’ plan to do that meets with dangerous circumstances, and Marcus has tough lessons to learn along the way.

Friends, if you are a fiction lover, or even if you’re not, I highly recommend Cream City Hustle .  It’s suspenseful, educational and riveting all at the same time.  Buy it today for yourself, or purchase Cream City Hustle as a gift for a friend or loved one who loves a good fiction read.  It’s well worth the time and the money.

And as for you, James, well done, my friend.  Well done. 🙂

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20 comments

  1. Laurie,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to read my first novel and give a great review! Most importantly, I am thrilled that you found it to be a good read and worth your time.

    I’m encouraged by your kind words as I continue work on my second effort, Sin City Greed. Again, thanks a lot. Good stuff!

    • I was intrigued by the idea of blending the two. I’m thrilled that Laurie believes it works. You can head over to Amazon to check it out >>> http://alturl.com/8heq8

      The Kindle Edition [eBook] is available now while the Paperback Edition is currently not available as I have decided to update the cover. However, it should be ready for purchase in a day or two.

      I look forward to your feedback.

    • I believe so. While the protagonist does engage in dealing drugs, that activity is not glamourized, and that is what forms the basis of the story’s conflict. Also, I believe there is one ‘F’ bomb dropped in the story and a few other choice words. Nothing over the top and certainly how you might expect adults, in an urban environment of elsewhere quite frankly, to speak.

      I am in the process of updating the cover with Create Space and therefore, the paperback version is temporarily unavailable. In fact, I’m waiting for the review to be completed (any minute) so that I can update the status to available. Worst case, it is another day or two before it is available. In the meantime, contact me (jcm.publishing@yahoo.com) and I will make a complimentary Gift Certificate available (Kindle Edition] to you so that you can check it out.

      You don’t necessarily require a Kindle for the Kindle Edition version. As long as you have any device (e.g. iPad, iPhone, Windows Phone, Android based tablet, computer, etc.) that supports the Kindle app, you are good to go.

  2. I’m with you Laurie…I generally like non-fiction, but the storyline sounds very intriguing. I’ll have to check it out. Hope there are more fiction books that incorporate personal finance themes into it.

  3. “Hope there are more fiction books that incorporate personal finance themes into it.” Absolutely. One of the things I have communicated to a few other Personal Finance bloggers is that I hope some of them will do as I have done and look for other ways to communicate with others about Personal Finance concepts and practices. Blending PF concepts and practices into a fictional novel is just one way. I had so much fun – except for the endless editing and formatting – doing Cream City Hustle, I have already started work (about 22,000 words thus far) on a new PF Thriller, Sin City Greed (think ‘American Greed’ the CNBC show meets ‘Ocean’s Eleven’). If it goes as planned, it should be released spring 2015.

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