Charyn returns from his recent tour of non-series fiction (War Cries Over Avenue C, Paradise Man) and nonfiction...



Charyn returns from his recent tour of non-series fiction (War Cries Over Avenue C, Paradise Man) and nonfiction (Metropolis, Movieland) to another chronicle of irrepressible New York Police Commissioner (""the Commish"") Isaac Sidel, dragged into a gang war by his old, old flame Margaret Tolstoy. Returning prematurely from a cross-country tour as the Justice Department's first Alexander Hamilton Fellow, Isaac takes a break from such current problems as the intermittent purring of his tapeworm (which he finds too companionable to get rid of) and the whereabouts of mob lawyer Maurice Goodstein to give a talk to the Christy Mathewsons, fans of prewar baseball. But when Isaac catches sight of his childhood sweetie Anastasia, a.k.a. Margaret Tolstoy, in the audience, he's off and running after Margaret, who identifies herself as the mistress of mob accountant and Christy member Martin Crabbs, but who turns out to be much more: the link between warring DiAngelis and Rubino families; the target of a murder attempt at Isaac's flat; the chief suspect in Crabbs' killing; a possible government agent (for the US? the Russians? the Syrians?) and tool of cultural chief Frederic LeComte. Don Isacco handles all these complications and others--his ongoing affair with the mayor, his fistfight with the school chancellor, his brief fling at surrogate parenthood with a 12-year-old man-slaughter jailbird, even his own jailing on bribery charges (a climactic episode that provides some of Charyn's biggest laughs)--with his usual aplomb, staying on good terms with cardinals and hoodlums alike, though many readers, as usual, will feel like a TV audience who tuned into every scene too late to catch the opening lines. Charyn and his hero are as charmingly manic as ever in a romp that reads like a That's Entertainment of New York's Freest--chaotic continuity (would anybody read Charyn for the plot?), but one great scene after another.

Pub Date: July 9, 1990


Page Count: -

Publisher: Mysterious Press--dist. by Ballantine

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1990