Call him Isaac. Or Sindbad the Sailor. Or The Big Guy. Or even The Pink Commish. He answers to all of these and more, depending on time, place, and mood, as he goes careening through Charyn’s never-never land transmogrified from New York City. In this, Isaac’s tenth adventure (El Bronx, 1997, etc.), the most beloved mayor in Gotham history is about to widen his net—reluctantly. He’s yielded to the blandishments of the Democratic Party bigwigs who—ve told him he’s needed to rescue the scandal-ridden ticket led by J. Michael Storm. But not everybody adores Isaac. Storm’s wife doesn’t. The FBI doesn’t. A couple of highly placed lowlife cops don’t; and the list goes on. So from time to time, gun-toting Isaac gets disarmed, disabled, and just about discontinued. Among his assailants is—lamentably—Margaret Tolstoy, she to whom Isaac has given his heart. But Margaret is also the most renowned double agent in espionage history, and a girl’s got to do what a girl’s paid to do. At length, the stage is set for the climactic TV debate: J. Michael versus the incumbent. Consequences transcend the political, a fact that Isaac discovers when he has to fend off a particularly vicious attack. He’s aided this time by a pet rodent named Raskolnikov, who distracts the attacker by biting off half his nose. If any of this sounds bizarre, it’s because you haven’t yet been conditioned, which is to say you haven—t tripped with Charyn. As usual, unflagging energy on the part of the writer. Halfway through, though, readers might plead for mercy.