Jelly Bryce

The Legend Begins

Fiction - Historical - Personage
244 Pages
Reviewed on 11/03/2016
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Author Biography

A second-generation police officer, Mike Conti retired as a lieutenant from the Massachusetts State Police after more than twenty-four years of service.

He currently serves as the Rangemaster and Physical Education Firearms Instructor for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA.

In addition to Jelly Bryce: The Legend Begins, Conti has authored four non-fiction books, including Police Pistolcraft and The Officer's Guide to Police Pistolcraft.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

If you ever turned the last page of a book and find yourself pining for more, then you have firsthand experience of what I felt after turning the last page of Jelly Bryce: The Legend Begins. The consolation is that it’s just the beginning of a promising trilogy, a well-wrought piece of a story by Mike Conti.

This first installment in the trilogy introduces readers to the early life of the legendary, historical character, Delf "Jelly" Bryce. The reader gets to know this historic character from his early years in the wilds of Mountain View, Oklahoma. It is the first part of the twentieth century and young Delf has developed an insane love for firearms, earning himself a good reputation as a very sharp shooter. In fact, rifles, pistols, and shotguns are his toys. An unusual circumstance leads him to join the law enforcement profession, and he soon makes a great name fighting the bad guys. It is fun to watch him in action, poised against criminals and a world that reels with

Mike Conti knows how to bring life to a story and readers will enjoy his storytelling skills. Right from the start of the book, readers know that the author takes character development seriously, and there is some delight in seeing how each character fits into the beautiful tapestry. The setting is very compelling, a city beset by crime and lawlessness. The social issues come across clearly in the writing. The writing itself is impeccable and the author does a wonderful job in mimicking the somewhat unlettered way some of the characters speak, a skill which makes the work more interesting, revealing more about the background of the characters and adding more humor into an already entertaining narrative.

Jelly Bryce: The Legend Begins is a huge promise to readers who are fans of historical characters. This first book in the trilogy already won my heart and I can’t wait for the next two. It is delightfully humorous and entertaining, far more than I could have imagined.

Susan Sewell

Jelly Bryce: The Legend Begins by Mike Conti is a fascinating historical account of Delf Bryce, also known as Jelly. The year that Oklahoma became the forty-sixth state, Delf Bryce was born. As an infant, Delf used his cousin's toy pistol for teething. His attachment to guns began at that moment. He always had a gun and said that he was uncomfortable without one. Delf was shooting at every opportunity and became an outstanding marksman at a very early age. On his way to enroll in college, Delf was diverted by a shooting competition. That shooting competition was a major turning point in Delf's life. The results of that impulsive decision helped launch him into a successful career. At the age of twenty-one and the first day on the job as a policeman, Delf shot and killed a dangerous criminal who had connections with gangsters from Chicago. He became an important member of the Oklahoma City Police Department and later Delf worked under J. Edgar Hoover in the newly established agency of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Jelly Bryce: The Legend Begins by Mike Conti is an interesting historical look into the life of Delf 'Jelly' Bryce. Jelly Bryce is a legend among law enforcement. He was an exceptional policeman who had a superb and deadly skill with a gun. Legend says that he could out-shoot Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson. Mike Conti did a marvelous job of portraying Jelly and giving the reader a perspective on his life. I grew up not too far away from Mountain View, Oklahoma. The description of the Wichita mountains and the Washita river where Delf grew up is beautifully depicted and how I remember it. This is a well-written and enjoyable historical book and I recommend it to those who love a historical account of an outstanding lawman. I do, however, add a word of caution. This book is more suited for readers over the age of thirteen, as there are a few swear words, some violence, and sexual innuendos.

Deborah Lloyd

Delf “Jelly” Bryce, a legendary figure in Oklahoma during the prohibition era, certainly lived an impressive life. Beginning with his childhood (including an unusual story about a teething episode), throughout his time as an Oklahoma City police officer and detective, and ending with his first years in the newly-formed Federal Bureau of Investigation, this book is highly informative and entertaining at the same time. Author Mike Conti’s book, Jelly Bryce: The Legend Begins, provides a factual account of the lawman’s expertise. Jelly Bryce was well-known for his fast-draw, accurate shooting skills. The story also includes how he became known as Jelly; as a criminal was dying from his gunshot wounds, he called Delf “jellybean,” a nickname for someone well-dressed during that era. Delf’s stylish dress and his penetrating blue eyes are noted frequently throughout the book.

This book is the first of a trilogy, and the reader will be motivated to read the next two in the series. In Jelly Bryce: The Legend Begins, author Mike Conti builds the fascinating character of this wild-west hero, and every reader will want to know what else Jelly achieves during his lifetime. Mike Conti writes a realistic way as he makes each scene easy to imagine; the reader can almost hear the gunshots, smell the flowing blood, and see the gangsters lying on the ground. He also adds a great deal of information about family life, fashion, the effects of prohibition, policing practices of the '20s and '30s and other aspects of life in the early twentieth century. An entertaining read!