Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Jerome Charyn - Under the Eye of God - Review
About the Book
After decades of madness in the Bronx, Isaac Sidel visits the craziest state in the country.
Isaac Sidel is too popular to be America’s vice president. Once the New York Police Department commissioner, he became the most beloved mayor in the city’s history—famous for his refusal to surrender his Glock, and for his habit of disappearing for months at a time to fight crime at street level. So when baseball czar J. Michael Storm asks Sidel to join him on the election’s Democratic ticket, the two wild men romp to an unprecedented landslide. But as the president-elect’s mandate goes off the rails—threatened by corruption, sex, and God knows what else—he tires of being overshadowed by Sidel, and dispatches him to a place from which tough politicians seldom return: Texas.
In the Lone Star state, Sidel confronts rogue astrologers, accusations of pedophilia, and a dimwitted assassin who doesn’t know when to take an easy shot. If this Bronx bomber doesn’t watch his step, he risks making vice-presidential history by getting killed on the job.
You can tell Jerome Charyn is a New Yorker. The rapid fire pace of his latest Isaac Sidel crime novel is indicative of the relentless energy pulsing throughout this modern day metropolis. In the city that never sleeps, the action never stops—from gun battles to political espionage—events keep unfurling one after another. How can one man keep it all together in the midst of all this madness? Well, Isaac Sidel isn't your ordinary schmuck. He's one of New York's finest.
From ex-cop to mayor to newly elected vice president, Isaac Sidel has his hands in all pots, but with a Glock in his waistband and only $79 in his bank account, he's not your average hustler. He's full of heart, but that's what gets him into trouble. He's a sucker for the history of the city especially its architectural gems like the Ansonia, where much of the story takes place, and its history when it comes to the glamor and excitement of organized crime. Isaac is drawn to the aura surrounding these legends like a moth to a flame.
But his true devotion is to the Bronx. A borough ravaged into Third World style poverty by ruthless land grabs. Real estate tycoons looking to make a quick buck through a failed highway redevelopment program only turned the area into a concrete wasteland. Isaac is incensed by the ruin that was brought upon this part of his city, and he is determined to thwart the ambitions of a gang of Texas billionaires and his mentor-turned-enemy from turning it into a glorified military base. Nobody threatens Isaac in his own backyard and gets away with it.
If only, he didn't fall for the silver-haired damsel dangled in front of his nose as a intended distraction. If only he did what the leaders of the Democratic party wanted and supplanted his running mate by usurping the presidency. If only he didn't hate playing along with the despotic director of the FBI in bringing down those who threatened his life. But that's not how Isaac operates. He likes to work alone. There are very few people he can trust.
While the action is set in the 1980s, the shady atmosphere feels surprisingly current. Charyn depicts the dirty deals that go on behind closed doors when it comes to the nation's political power grabs. He masterfully brings to life the interconnectedness of the people at the top and how they do everything they can to stay there. This insight into presidential politics will leave even the most ardent voting rights advocate a little queasy.
Charyn's proclivity toward short chapters helps craft this thriller into a real page-turner. Just when things can't get any worse, they do. But Isaac always rises like a phoenix from the ashes. He is nearly assassinated almost half a dozen times in a little over 200 pages, but he's still standing at the conclusion. How does he turn such a hornet's nest to his favor? Charyn's razor sharp wit and tough as nails writing style provide a somber yet fulfilling conclusion to the latest chapter in the life of his most intriguing character.
Under the Eye of God buy links:
Barnes and Noble
Price: $14.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback
Publisher: MysteriousPress.com, Open Road Media
Release Date: October 30, 2012
About the Author
JEROME CHARYN (born May 13, 1937) is an award-winning American author. With nearly 50 published works, Charyn has earned a long-standing reputation as an inventive and prolific chronicler of real and imagined American life. Michael Chabon calls him “one of the most important writers in American literature.”
New York Newsday hailed Charyn as “a contemporary American Balzac,” and the Los Angeles Times described him as “absolutely unique among American writers.”
Since the 1964 release of Charyn’s first novel, Once Upon a Droshky, he has published 30 novels, three memoirs, eight graphic novels, two books about film, short stories, plays and works of non-fiction. Two of his memoirs were named New York Times Book of the Year. Charyn has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. He received the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and has been named Commander of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture.
Charyn was Distinguished Professor of Film Studies at the American University of Paris until he left teaching in 2009.
In addition to his writing and teaching, Charyn is a tournament table tennis player, once ranked in the top 10 percent of players in France. Noted novelist Don DeLillo called Charyn’s book on table tennis, Sizzling Chops & Devilish Spins, "The Sun Also Rises of ping-pong."
Charyn lives in Paris and New York City.
Links to connect with Jerome:
Facebook (Isaac Sidel)
Twitter (Isaac Sidel)
Blog Tour Site