Kerry Copeland Smith (Boogie) delivers an hysterically funny (and tragically horrific) tale through the trials and tribulations of two unique boys in his debut novel, The Boogie Trapp. When I read his opening statement: “To The Reader…I feel it necessary for me to apologize in advance for any vulgar or distasteful language and/or any racial overtones I have had to use to make the story complete. It is direct and to the point, exactly as I remember it on that day…,” I knew I was about to read a great story. Loved this touch!
In May of 2008; a typical Florida day begins for Smith—now in his 70’s. On one of his routine errands, on his way back to his car, a big black cat crosses his path. He’s wearing a velvety red collar and while it’s not so much the color of the collar that grabs Smith; it’s the loop hanging down from the collar—a loop that looks a lot like a noose, that gives him cause to pause for a moment. Smith follows the cat around the corner for closer inspection, only to be duped because it’s nowhere to be found. Whatever; he still needs to get some gas. Later on, while at the pump, Smith notices a red corvette that seems to have appeared from out of nowhere... That was on Friday, May 2nd.
On Saturday, May 17th, when Smith gets a letter in the mail, he already knew it was from Jean—Charles Edward Trapp’s (Trapper) sister. He knew what was coming. It was time for him to make good on a promise made nearly 60 years ago between him and his best friend, Trapper. In order to give that promise the just recognition it deserved, Smith would have to take the reader back to post-World War II. The place was an insignificant east/west ridge nestled on the Cumberland Plateau about twenty miles north of Birmingham, Alabama; an area with plenty of coal, iron ore, dolomite and limestone. He wasn’t ‘Kerry Smith’ back then. He was Boogie and his partner in crime was Trapper. As their story begins, what started out as a typical Saturday morning in early April of 1949, ends up as a day far from typical in every aspect of the definition assigned to typical. The outcome was a secret that needed protecting in the many years ahead of it.
Mr. Smith deserves a multitude of praise for writing The Boogie Trapp. The sheer notion he did so to honor a blood brother promise made between him and his dearly departed Trapper, speaks volumes toward what a man of great substance entails. Setting aside character and focusing on his literary abilities, however, I cannot wait until Smith delivers his next novel. His command of the English language boiled down onto page upon page of genuine and relatable dialogue that is a gift that is harbored by only those who truly have the precious ability to tell the epic story that was delivered on the pages of The Boogie Trap. There is never a moment throughout the entire book where the reader is plagued with the mundane drag of too much information and not enough action. Rather, the reader is in a constant frenzy of devouring each page to get to the next and doing so with absolute joy—a recipe Smith also followed to perfection. I found myself laughing out loud often. The one sadness I have experienced since finishing this novel, however, is the reality that Boogie and Trapper cannot live forever. I am grateful to Smith to have left the indelible legacy of those two boys in my heart and soul. I will think of them often in the days to come. As for Mr. Smith, I hope and pray he is working on his next novel. The world of writers needs to learn from his gift as much as the universe of readers needs the satisfaction of consuming yet another great read! Congratulations Mr. Smith! You’ve contributed a worthy effort to the ranks of readers thanks to your story of two coal miner boys in a time when life was far less complex.
Quill Says: This book is a beautiful ode to the innocence of youth and the precious memories of a friendship as well as the honor in delivering a promise made.