Review: Highly Recommended Read!

TBRpileThe TBR Pile posted an 4-star review this morning of Box of Rain.

Booker is trying to better himself after living his life in foster care. When he finds a body in the trash it’s bad enough then he looks closer to see it’s just a head. The head of someone he knows. Jo is a reporter dealing with personal issues. She’s all to happy to look into the case and finds that more people have gone missing. What exactly is going on? Will they get out of this alive?

This is the third book in the series and I had no problem following the story.

I really liked Booker. He was always trying to do the right thing. The mystery was really interesting. I think the details sort of shifted the story for me. Like the insurance on a 97-year-old man, that seems unlikely. A homeless boy that can afford a cell phone. Little details that just didn’t add up. I liked the side characters and the mystery was really good. I found the other disappearances very intriguing. Jo was a little harder to like but she’s going through a lot so I think the stress made her character ornery. This is the third book in the series and I had no problem following the story.

From the TBR:  Highly Recommended Read!

Review: Gritty but Ultimately Good

cbr_logo2The Chicago Review of Books posted an awesome review this morning of Box of Rain. Click the link at the end to read the whole wonderful thing, but here are some of my favorite quotes:

“Box of Rain is the third in a series of “Street Stories” suspense novels focusing on the gritty side of Chicago. In this briskly paced story, Debra Borys weaves together two narratives: one about a young black man falsely suspected of murder and on the run from police, the other about a reporter on the case as she grapples with her father’s dubious past.”

This quick-paced, sometimes dark, but ultimately good-hearted novel aims for light entertainment with a straightforward message, not unlike the spirited Chicago detective novels of Sarah Paretsky.

“The characters are lightly but clearly sketched in their precarious situations and there are several nuanced angles to the story. For instance, not all of the people striving to help these young men are thoroughly “good.” Many show traces of both compassion and stubbornness or even ruthless greed. The young men themselves are far from perfect. The police show both concern and callousness. The reporter has more than her share of doubts about the young men; she is not their unfailing champion. Personal problems leave her irritable and sharp-tongued—a possible hindrance in her investigation. All this adds up to poor odds for a young man mired in a major criminal case.

This quick-paced, sometimes dark, but ultimately good-hearted novel aims for light entertainment with a straightforward message, not unlike the spirited Chicago detective novels of Sarah Paretsky. Box of Rain will not surprise those familiar with the problems between young black men and law enforcement. But with its tightly knit plot and a few good twists, this novel may be recommended for YA and general readers curious about how unconscious biases can lead to vicious cycles of distrust.”

From Chicago Book Review:  Gritty but Ultimately Good-Hearted

Author Interview on Writers Alive – Families and Fiction

Discussing Box of Rain with John Byck on his podcast made me realize just how much family is an underlying theme in the book.

Debra R. Borys

John Byck from  was one of the first people to interview me when Painted Black was published, so I was glad of an opportunity to revisit his podcast ansd talk about Box of Rain and the Street Stories series.

We also discuss the writing process, and the issues of homelessness and families.  I hope you enjoy.

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Review and Interview Planned with John Byk of Writers Alive


John Byk of Writers Alive has been on my mailing list since he did a podcast interview of me for the release of Painted Black back in 2011. When he received my latest notice about Box of Rain being released in print later this month, he contacted me to ask if I would be interested in doing another interview.

JohnBykExclusive podcasts with some of today’s most famous and compelling authors

Of course I said yes!  My 2011 appearance on his show was fun and an invaluable opportunity.  He was a great host and made the live interview–which was my first ever as a published author–a great experience. I expect this one will be as well.  I’ll post here whenever we get a date set up.

In addition, John offered to do a review of Box of Rain.  In his role as an author interviewer, he has picked up quite a few review followers on Goodreads, so being reviewed by him will mean tremendous exposure. I am grateful for his interest and look forward to hearing what he thinks of the book.

Documentary on Homeless Teens in Chicago

As I always said, the best fiction is about reality. Watch a documentary about real life teens facing the same struggles Booker T does in Box of Rain.

Debra R. Borys

The Homestretch is a documentary I first mentioned when I was still in the infant stages of writing Box of Rain. I was doubly excited about the news. First of all, and most importantly, the film calls attention to the overlooked and heartbreaking fact that many youth trying to make their way through the Chicago school system are also homeless. The film follows three youth as they struggle to stay in school.

The second reason, of course, is because that is the topic I address in Box of Rain.  Booker T worked hard to get a college scholarship, yet a macabre murder, combined with a tendency to judge a street kid by past prejudices, might make his efforts all for nothing.

I just found out that the documentary, which is available for special screenings and is being released in several locations, is going to be shown on the PBS…

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Review: Booker was an interesting protagonist


Bridget at portable pieces of thought doesn’t give reviews a rating, and while her assessment of Box of Rain didn’t earn her “One Brilliant Book” sticker, it also didn’t get labelled “A Total Failure” or “Meh.” So I call this one a win.

Download the e-book today!
Download the e-book today!


I liked especially the characterization – as three-dimensional as you might wish. Jo Sullivan, working for a local newspaper, had also other problems to deal with; contrary to some of her fictional sister sleuths she didn’t live and breathe just to solve crimes and drink coffee. Not even that particular crime, concerning a boy who strived to overcome all odds and earn his degree.

Also Booker was an interesting protagonist to follow. He wasn’t idealized, he wasn’t a ‘saintly saint’ but a real human being with a darker side.

via Review: Box of Rain (a Street Stories suspense novel) by Debra R. Borys | portable pieces of thoughts.

Review: “An absorbing read”


Lisa Duvall gave Box of Rain 3-stars on her blog and on Goodreads, but ranked it with 4-stars on, so since she had nothing but good things to say about the book, I’m counting it as a 4-star win.


“It was an absorbing read with realistic characters and plenty of twists and turns. It also tackled homelessness in a caring, sensitive manner. I recommend it.”

via I Feel So Unnecessary: Box of Rain 4-stars

Download the e-book today!
Download the e-book today!


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