Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Under the Eye of God, Jerome Charyn (4 stars)

Under the Eye of God Book Summary

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.


Isaac Sidel never pretends to be perfect, nothing even close to it. But he also does not back down from a fight, or from anything he believes in. When he finds himself the most likeable part of the Presidential ticket, his life quickly becomes complicated. Not only is he accused of liking young girls, he has become the target of a man who will stop at nothing to destroy him.

Few authors do gritty and edgy like Jerome Charyn. From characters to setting, there's something very dark and authentic about Under the Eye of God. Isaac Sidel is front and center in this novel, finding his way from one mess to another. No matter how high the stakes become, he rarely seems to flinch. 

Earlier this year, I read Jerome Charyn's Blue Eyes and commented...

Although this is the first Isaac Sidel mystery, Isaac is not a main character. Yet, he manages to be the force behind much of the story. Just enough of his character is revealed to entice the reader to want to know more about him, especially since his sphere of influence is so large.

So I was thrilled for further insight into Isaac, a well-developed and interesting "good" guy who has no problem blurring the lines of a traditional hero. I loved this unconventional approach to a memorable main character. He will stick with you as much for his mistakes as his achievements.

From page one, the intricate story never lets up. Although it's confusing at times and keeping up with the long cast of characters can be daunting, the story never manages to let up. Interesting characters pull you from page to page, wondering what could possibly happen next.

This story doesn't simply follow the stereotypical good guy beats bad guy; instead it exposes the realistic, and rarely pretty, underbelly of society. If you are a reader who appreciates the unexpected, I highly recommend this book. Jerome Charyn plays by his own rules, and he's a strong enough writer to turn those rules into good reading.

Rating: 4 stars

Book Trailer

Jerome Charyn's Bio

Jerome Charyn (b. 1937) is the critically acclaimed author of nearly fifty books. Born in the Bronx, he attended Columbia College, where he fell in love with the works of William Faulkner and James Joyce. After graduating, he took a job as a playground director and wrote in his spare time, producing his first novel, a Lower East Side fairytale called Once Upon a Droshky, in 1964.

In 1974 Charyn published Blue Eyes, his first Isaac Sidel mystery. Begun as a distraction while trying to finish a different book, this first in a series of Sidel novels introduced the eccentric, near-mythic detective and his bizarre cast of sidekicks. Charyn followed the character through Citizen Sidel (1999), which ends with his antihero making a run at the White House. Charyn, who divides his time between New York and Paris, is also accomplished at table tennis, and once ranked amongst France’s top 10 percent of ping-pong players.
For more information on the author, please visit his website, his Facebook page, and on Twitter.
Buy Under the Eye of God
This is a blog tour, please visit the Under the Eye of God blog tour site for more stops.

Note: I received a complimentary copy from Tribute Books for review purposes. No other compensation was received. A positive review was not guaranteed or requested; the views expressed are my own.

For more information on Tribute Books, please visit their website, on Facebook, and on Twitter. 
I have had the privilege of reviewing two other Jerome Charyn books, so I wanted to share them here:


The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson said...

Two things I love are moms and readers! Add your excellent taste and interesting reviews, and this grandmom loves mom in love with fiction. So glad you enjoyed Jerome Charyn's 11th Isaac Sidel potboiler, Under the Eye of God and, if you have a kindle or nook, write me and I'll send you one of the Isaacs you nay have missed (like the 5th - a fave - or the 10th that precedes UTEG.) Many thanks for your review. Lenore (LenoreNYC@aol.com)

Tribute Books said...

Tia, I loved your comment that Jerome is such a great writer that he can break the rules and make it work for him. That observation just gave me chills because it was so right on the money. Thanks for the review!

P.S. Best of luck with NaNoWriMo :)

Tia Bach said...

Lenore, You are simply fabulous! I'll be in touch.

Nicole, Thanks. It's been a treat to read several of his books. (And thanks for the NaNo encouragement... I'm sitting at 20,275 right now, so a bit of catching up to do!