Monday, April 30, 2012

Blue Eyes by Jerome Charyn

Article first published as Book Review:Blue Eyes by Jerome Charyn on Blogcritics.
We often look back at the 1970’s with fondness and a bit of nostalgia for a time when life was just a bit slower. However that time in history was neither as nostalgic nor slow paced for everyone, especially the police departments in New York.

In Blue Eyes Jerome Charyn, delivers a tough yet likable officer in Manfred Coen. Born with a handsome demeanor but a strong and stubborn streak, he is a wiz at Ping-Pong, among his many talents. Hard to read and sometimes brutal, he is the ultimate man to be in charge of finding the kidnapped daughter of a porno-film producer. In a time were many were on the take, Coen pits himself against the sleaziest of those in the business.

Finding himself on a trip into Mexico and chasing rumors of white slavery, he begins to understand that everything is not as it seems. Realizing he is shadowed wherever he goes, he does not understand the real danger that he has brought upon himself with his questions. Can he find out what is happening before it is too late? Set up to take a fall, he finds himself in a Ping-Pong match set up to humiliate him, and to bring him into the open. Will he survive the machinations of the people he struggles to trust?

Charyn has the ability to personify his characters, making them both gritty and bold. His sense of the outrageous and his black humor give them a feel of real life, which seems to bring them to existence in a way that is all too real. His knowledge and background of both Mexico and New York, give you the distinct feel of being there. His description of his characters and their unending ability to create chaos keep you reading on for more.

If you enjoy suspense and danger, Blue Eyes will deliver. If you have ever wondered about or had any curiosity of the ins and outs of Ping-Pong, you will find the answers. Tying such an innocuous sport in with danger and distrust is an ingenious way to create red herrings that will throw you off the path of who may be behind the most nefarious schemes as they unwind.
Set in the late 1970’s, the thing that is incredible is how many of the crimes are reflective of the here and now. Manfred Coen is a protagonist you can believe in, and his stylistic form of Ping-Pong only adds to the character of the novel.

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 Blue Eyes Book Summary
A cop and his disgraced mentor attempt to bust a white slavery ring.
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.
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.

Price: $9.99
Release: April 10, 2012
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Tribute Books said...

Leslie, thanks again for taking the time to read and review Jerome's book. I enjoyed your description of Jerome's writing style, especially when it came to his characters.

Lenore Webb said...

All the different characters that have their own side stories is what helps this book grown beyond it's very own cover!