The story takes place during the late 1980’s into the 90’s within various towns in Long Island, N.Y. and is based on the lives of Jermaine and Derrik who against their mothers wishes and struggles fall victim to a life of crime and self-destruction.
Both young men evolve into streetwise teens, with new identities, (Derrik “Infinite”, Jermaine “Blaze”), and within a few yrs become major players in the street scene. Through Knowledge a cat that Inifinite became acquainted with in the slammer they link up with him and his brother Knowledge Knowledge, and members of a crew called M.P.R., Kareem, Takim, Freedom, Jasheem and Divine. The nine of them form a syndicate, friendship and bond that will change their lives, and those they encounter forever.
This is a work of fiction, but the events in this story take place just as they would in real life. There’s no entertainment in the reality that these two young men and their friends are willing to gamble with their lives to obtain riches. The harsh reality is that many of our young are living the same reality today, and will pay the same price that these young men do.
“No Love Lost” is a story, which will entertain and educate
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Most of the action in No Love Lost is centered mainly around the young Blaze, nee Jermaine Johnson, as he rises to power in the drug world. Lured into the game by his cousin, Derrik, and mentor, Supreme, Blaze is seduced by the money, freedom, and influence that come along with his increased underworld status - but he is ill-prepared to handle the violence, betrayal, and unpredictability of his newfound trade. As he weaves his way through a tangled web of deals gone bad, police intimidation, and turf wars, a higher consciousness slowly but surely awakens within him, and he ultimately considers making a much-needed life change, prompted by the love of his faithful sweetheart, Rachel. On the surface, one would think that the gritty depictions of street life in No Love Lost would make it a carbon copy of such predecessors as 'New Jack City' or 'Juice.' Instead, with its realistic reflections on the daily human struggles of urban Black youth, Shellman's narrative falls more along the lines of 'Goodfellas': his protagonists are not caricatures, but rather 3-dimensional, flesh-and-blood flawed beings, the likes of which we all see and deal with everyday. True, they have chosen to indulge in a life of danger and uncertainty, but, given the limitations of their immediate environment - not to mention the constrictions of modern society - their ever-dwindling options often leave them with no other recourse. Consider this revealing passage: 'He knew how it felt to be hungry. And as a young man, he learned that money meant the difference between those who ate and those who starved. He'd rather be in jail or dead than starve for anyone. This was verified by the outlaw life that he decided to live. His life, he felt, was like that of a black cowboy in the early frontier. It was all about survival tactics.' In addition, further complicating the boys' lives are the inevitable consequences of the choices they make. It is well known throughout the drug game, that - much like the CIA - once you're in, you never get out. Unsuspectingly swept into an increasingly dangerous life, the boys eventually realize that they'd be in even more danger if they left - which, of course, explains why they stay. The difficulty of this decision is highlighted best in this telling piece of introspection by Blaze himself: 'Yes, he could have chosen a different path because of the opportunities his mother provided, but this was his life and his choice, and he was set on living it the way he wanted to with no remorse for the time being. Maybe things would change later. But for now he was playing by the rules.' A refreshing departure from many of the aimless, sensationalized urban fiction novels currently en vogue, No Love Lost deserves to be lauded for its honest depictions and intelligent handling of contemporary Black youth, particularly the various ways that they choose to navigate the daily quagmire of their lives. One could actually envision Shellman's narrative being required reading in many freshman high school English classrooms across the country.
Jermaine was as happy as everyone else to finally have his mentor and cousin, Derrik, aka Infinite, back. Watching Infinite and his close friend, Supreme, always have money, cars and women, Jermaine couldn't wait to be just like the duo. Being naïve and with his nose wide open, Jermaine knew that they were probably doing something illegal and wanted to get in the mix, and Infinite's return finally opened the door to his well awaited opportunity. Two years later and now officially nicknamed Blaze, the tides are about to get strong and Blaze enters a life that he isn't all to sure that he is ready for. Money-Power-Respect, thoroughly known as MPR, established their name to the fullest. Organization and trust was not only their most valued law, but having access and making as much money as possible was key. MPR regulated the streets with their keen knowledge of street value and business ethics. Consisting of nine different minds and goals, Blaze enters as the newest and youngest member of the group with only Infinite as his sole supporter. Detectives and patrolmen alike are banking on the promotions and easy vacations they could possibly have with taking down the notorious crew of MPR. Silently and maliciously waiting for one false move, raids were conducting simultaneously throughout Long Island and surrounding areas. Some of the 'Beast' just wanted to have their own faces on the news, while others have a vendetta a mile long. Combing the streets for links and possible informants, the battle and blood bath not only regulates between the police department and MPR but MPR and snitches. Therone has you on the edge of your seat with each page. This action packed winner might have you wanting to bring out your steel and bring the heat to quite a few characters. Hell, I wanted my nickname to be Explosive for a minute. Therone definitely has a flair for this genre and I hope to read more from him.