Hello everyone Before I get into today’s post and review, I wanted to remind you that today is the last day to win a free print edition of “Write For the Fight”, a collection of essays to benefit Breast Cancer. Check the contest page for details and good luck if you enter! And now, on with the post….
Blue Eyes Book Summary
Before Isaac Sidel adopts him, Manfred Coen is a mutt. A kid from the Bronx, he joins the police academy after his father’s suicide leaves him directionless, and is trudging along like any other cadet when first deputy Sidel, the commissioner’s right hand man, comes looking for a young cop with blue eyes to infiltrate a ring of Polish smugglers. He chooses Coen, and asks the cadet to join his department after he finishes the academy. Working under Sidel means fast promotions, plush assignments, and, when a corruption scandal topples his mentor, the resentment of every rank-and-file detective on the force.
Now just an ordinary cop, Coen hears word that his old mentor has a line on a human trafficking operation. When Sidel’s attempt at infiltration fails, he sends in Coen. For Coen, it’s a shot to prove himself and redeem his mentor, but it could cost the blue-eyed cop his life.
I’ll start off by saying this is definitely a book for adults. Some people may be ok with their teenager reading this, but I will recommend reading it yourself first to decide if it’s suitable. For me, the story had a real 30s/40s gangster movie vibe despite not actually taking place in that time period. The story is gritty and dark and, for me, you can’t always tell the difference between the good guys and the bad ones. The detectives in this story live in a world full of gray where bribery and other things are acceptable sometimes. They have the power and they use it as they see fit. I liked the realism of the dialogue here and how Charyn allows you to really feel what each character is going through at any moment while throwing in a few character quirks to really bring the person to life. Coen, in particular, is given a weakness (and talent) for ping-pong. The story is fast paced, sometimes forcing you to stop a minute to take it all in. I found that a bit overwhelming at times, but found myself enjoying the end result. I recommend this story for fans of old gangster movies and gritty detective dramas.
Jerome Charyn’s Bio
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.