In Manfredo’s tender and terrific latest, a burned-out cop can’t quit because he’s also a devoted dad.
NYPD Det. Sgt. Joe Rizzo (Rizzo’s Fire, 2011, etc.) suspects he’s been on the job too long. It’s not that he’s lost effectiveness. In terms of sheer professionalism he’s probably as good as ever, maybe even better. It’s just that time and bitter experience have rubbed off the gloss since the days when he loved being a cop, replacing it with a pervasive existential heaviness best expressed by Rizzo’s mantra: “There is no right. There is no wrong. There just [obscenity] is.” For a while now Rizzo has been promising his wife Jen that resignation is just around the corner, a plan that seems eminently feasible until suddenly it isn’t. Carol Rizzo, their youngest daughter, announces—in terms as strong as Rizzo himself once used—that she too has opted for blue. Long-suffering Jen is terrified. Rizzo understands that and shares some of her very sensible anxiety while taking a certain guilty pride in his daughter’s decision. Carol’s choice, however, means that seasoned, savvy Rizzo must stay on in order to protect his beloved child as much as possible. But how much will that be?
Good cops, bent cops, tormented and demented cops, cops of every description inhabit Rizzo’s world, all of them utterly believable and intensely interesting. For readers compiling a short list of crime fiction, here’s an essential.