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Book Review: 'Tony the Kneebreaker'

Novella by Woodstock resident Ed Gruber captures the tough life of the New York City docks.

By Catherine Groves

In Woodstock (Ga.) resident Ed Gruber’s novella, “Tony the Kneebreaker,” we meet the Lowenstein brothers: Joey, Freddie, and Ira. For more years than anyone can remember, they have been the owners and operators of JIF Banana Trucking. One of their nearest and dearest friends, Tony, comes to them for help, and the brothers find themselves in a quandary.

For 20 years, Tony has represented “The Boys” on the docks of the Hudson River. He has beaten up welchers and many other “problem customers” for years; it is the only career he’s ever had. He is paid, and paid well, to change the minds of business owners who miss their payments. He has seen too much and knows too much; he wants out. He’s found God in a new way, he is tired of lying to his wife, and his conscious is at war knowing he’s lying to his son.

The streets surrounding the New York Harbor are home to “The Boys” and the Lowensteins, and Joey’s chance meeting with “the Boss” at the tender age of 14 started a relationship that has lasted for decades. Although Joey and his brothers decided long ago to run a clean business, there is still an unavoidable involvement with “The Boys.” As one brother states, “We pay them to protect us against them.” So, when Tony reaches out to them for help, they know they are walking a fine line.

“The Boys,” feeling they are offering a viable option to Tony that would assure his silence and loyalty forever, also involve the Lowenstein brothers by putting them in a potential lifetime of doing the type of unethical business they’ve always avoided.

Tony and the brothers, along with their seductive secretary, come up with a plan — but it all falls apart at the seams.

Ed Gruber’s “Tony the Kneebreaker” hosts fictional characters that were a part of Gruber’s life growing up on the streets of New York City. It is easy to get lost in the authentic and mesmerizing story, characters, and style of Gruber’s “Tony the Kneebreaker.” For those looking for something different, real, and exciting, this is the book to read!

“Tony the Kneebreaker” can be purchased through Amazon, Kindle, Nook, Barnes and Nobles, and at