“Odd Jobs” by Ben Lieberman | Suspense Magazine Review
Kaye George, Author of “A Patchwork of Stories”, for Suspense Magazine

Let’s start off by saying this thriller’s cover blurbs are by James Patterson and Donald Trump. That sets the bar high, but Lieberman attains it.

Kevin Davenport narrates the story in present tense, starting with his summer job at Kosher World Meat Factory. It isn’t an ideal job, working with blood and bones and smelly flesh, but it pays well. He got the job through his association with Jimmy Balducci, a guy with connections. Kevin, a college student, doesn’t know where he belongs, but knows it’s not in a meat factory. This is just a summer job for him. Neither does he quite fit into the privileged stratum of his college classmates, although he used to. That was before a hit and run driver killed his father, a dedicated DA, and his little sister when he was ten. The accident took away his way of life until he obtained a basketball scholarship to a posh school—where he didn’t quite fit in either.When Kevin shows up for work hung over, he’s given an even more miserable work detail than hauling carcasses: the tongue room. He’s treated worse and worse at the factory until he volunteers to represent the company in a boxing match to redeem himself. He does for awhile. But an employee turns up dead, mysterious things are happening in the factory, Kevin doesn’t know who to trust or who’s out to get him and his seamy odd jobs get odder and more complicated.

Sev, who runs Kosher World, seems to have it in for Kevin, Balducci’s darling. Even so, Kevin admires the way Sev makes the factory hum. He doesn’t know who to trust, maybe no one, but knows he has to fight to remain alive in this world. Whether he belongs to it or not.

This is a thrilling, chilling tale filled with underworld characters, smoothly told. Look for more from Lieberman, maybe for more of Kevin, too.

Pow! Up Pops Ben Lieberman!
Grady Harp (Los Angeles, CA United States)

Read even the first few pages of this debut novel by New York writer Ben Lieberman and then try to believe that this is his first novel! ODD JOBS is a quirky, entertaining, at times edge of the seat novel that is most impressive in the quality of writing that Lieberman demonstrates. He is always in the moment of the story, has created enough of a history for each of his carefully drawn characters that benefit the credibility of each of them when the asides happen, and most of all he understands architecture of knowing when to begin and end chapters that makes them like the connected cars on a moving train, a train so fast moving that the reader dares not jump off for relief. Yes, he really is that fine a writer.

The story involves a college kid, Kevin Davenport, who despite his attraction to drinking it up with the guys, is dedicated to paying his way through college: his father and sister were the victims of a hit and run accident, his mother is so depressed she cannot assist him, so Kevin must go on his own. He lands in a good paying job - hauling beef carcasses and other odious jobs at the Kosher World Meat factory - but has to prove himself (and opt for more income) by becoming the fighter for the factory. Once accepted by the workers and by the manager of the factory, Kevin climbs his way into the machinations of the truly illegal situation that entails not only the men of the Kosher World Meat Factory but the sidelines of crime involving men who he discovers are privy to the details of the accident of his father and sister. And from that point on he endures life threatening situations, uses his brain, and is driven by revenge on the order of a comic book hero. 

Though stories of his type flood the screens of the movie theaters and the pulp fiction books one the stands at airports, few can compare tot he way Lieberman uses this action plot as a launching pad for his debut of his writing skills. Actually, Lieberman is better than this story: it feels as though he needed an entry into a well-loved terror drama format to get his feet wet. Unfortunately, the title ODD JOBS is followed by the designator 'A Kevin Davenport Novel' - and that usually means that the focus of his creativity will be devoted to 'the further adventures of' type books. And unfortunately he elected to have applauding quotes from James Patterson and Donald Trump on the cover of this edition. In reality, Ben Lieberman doesn't need gimmicks to launch his career - he is simply a very fine writer who doesn't need popular crutches to assist his potential as one of the rising American talents in literature. But all of this may have been publisher/editorial advice to sell this first book, and maybe they are right: endorsements and popular story tastes do a novel sell. But this reader would rate the story 4 and the skills of Ben Lieberman 5, and hope that he will branch out and rise to his potential. In that way Ben Lieberman (AKA Kevin Davenport) could make the best of the gifts given him. Grady Harp, August 11 

Ben Lieberman's ODD JOBS Is A Unique Literary Thriller
C. A. Webb "Conversations Book Club" (Jackson, MS)

In ODD JOBS author Ben Lieberman uses his love of a great story and skills to craft a book that takes us into the mind and motives of Kevin Davenport. Davenport has had to deal with the death of his father and his own feelings of his worth because of his abilities (or lack thereof). Along the way of trying to prove himself and even discover what his purpose is, we also find a manner of making things right in the process.

Kevin wants justice for his family but also feels compelled to right a wrong that affects many. Some of those in his life become affected by the path he as chosen, but at the end of the day he has to make a decision whether he will go for what is right or do what seems to be easy. 

What Lieberman has done is give us a character that is not perfect, that is modeled after so much of what all of us have to deal with and endure. In his powerful dialogue and reflections about why we are all here, for me the author gives us something to reflect upon seriously as we are enjoying a well-written novel.

Praised by individuals from all walks of life, ODD JOBS is just the kind of book that can be all things to all of us, meeting us where we are in our lives.

Fast-paced and pulse-pounding
Julie A. Smith "Julie @ Knitting and Sundries" (Cleveland, Ohio United States)

Kevin Davenport is a typical college student, working his way through college at various odd jobs. His current job at the Kosher World Meat Factory is carrying beef carcasses. It's a good union job, with good pay, and he has Jimmy Balducci, a friend's father, to thank for it.

Kevin's father was a prosecutor in the D.A.'s office, and when Kevin was 11 years old, he was a witness to the death of both his father and his little sister in a hit-and-run accident.

As Kevin works at Kosher World, his mettle is tested, and he finds himself with a "side job" that involves fighting after hours. He keeps his eyes open, and figures out that something is not right at Kosher World. A a co-worker ends up in pieces inside another worker's locker, and Kevin finds himself in deep danger when he witnesses criminal activity. In a world populated by a brutal crime syndicate, Kevin does what he can to keep himself in one piece. When he finds out that his father was actually murdered, he also finds out who is responsible, and his long-range plan turns into one of revenge.

This is a pulse-pounding type of read; very fast-paced and with some very tense, nail-biting moments. I think it started out a bit slow, but as I continued to read, I would likely have finished it in one sitting, I became so engrossed in the drama and intrigue.

Definitely a worthy read.

I have seen some reviews panning the writing (typos, grammatical errors, etc.), but I'm thinking that those reviewers may have read the first self-pubbed copy. My copy went through a publisher and the editors there must have done a fine job, as I did not have any of those complaints.

All in all, I would totally recommend this one for lovers of thrillers who aren't afraid of a little grit. There's even a touch of a really cool romance, and the friendships here are true-blue. I really enjoyed this one.

It's like this place is draining and stealing souls.
Balducci wants more production before he'll fork over benefits. Yet there is more production than they're seeing. Every single day so many boxes just up and disappear. That extra nut would add a lot to both company profits and ammo for union benefits.
The fact that an hour ago his guys were sending me to hotdog heaven kinda leads one to the conclusion that something's not kosher in Kosher Word. That being said, I think either I'm in or I'm out, and out probably means body parts filling Lily's locker.
Curtis says, "It's like a f**ing zombie movie here. These guys don't know they're dead."

Writing: 4 out of 5 stars
Plot: 4 out of 5 stars
Characters: 4 out of 5 stars
Reading Immersion: 4.5 out 5 stars

BOOK RATING: 4.25 out of 5 stars

This book deserves the praise it received
Israel Drazin (Boca Raton, Florida)

This first book by Ben Lieberman received well deserved praise from many sources. James Patterson, for example, called the novel "a tightly-wound, well written mystery." Readers will find themselves being drawn more and more into the mystery as they read it, making it difficult to put it down. Patterson wrote that he read it in a single sitting.

The book is about Kevin Davenport, a 21 year old, whose father, a Deputy DA, died in an apparent hit and run accident. His mother was unable to face the calamity and sank into passive depression, leaving Kevin, then aged 11, to care for the two of them. They were soon quite poor.

But coincidences happen to Kevin that he uses for his advantage. Someone sees him playing basketball and gets him a scholarship to a prep school. While there he helps the son of a very influential man who promises to assist him later in life. He hurts his leg and is unable to get a scholarship to college, but he uses the opportunity to learn how to box. The man whose son he helped gets him a job at Kosher World, a meat processing business. He is mistreated at Kosher World, and given the worst jobs. He discovers an ex-CIA man working at the firm, who is hiding from the CIA. He finds out that the Kosher World employees are looking for a man to fight an illegal fist fights and volunteers. He discovers that crimes are being committed at Kosher World and a man is brutally murdered, his head is chopped off. He becomes mixed up in the crimes, and finds that they extend beyond the meat processing firm. 

Kevin begins to realize that he has a conscience and is able to think. He decides that he will help stop the crimes even though he is placing himself in danger by doing so. 



Here we go.....
Francis J. Schaefer "hootie man" (florida)

Only have one thing to say.....please write a few hundred more of this type of story. this book has me staying up way past my bedtime which is a really good thing because I can't put the book down.. I'm really looking forward to his next effort but for now thanks for your fine effort.