Montezuma's Man

Jerome Charyn, Author Mysterious Press $26 (277p) ISBN 978-0-89296-461-1
With his usual, irresistible freight-train momentum, Charyn ( The Good Policeman ) charts a Dante-esque descent through increasingly corrupt circles of New York City as police commissioner Isaac Sidel and his chauffeur-cop Joe Barbarossa confront a familiar roster of hoodlums and politicos in city government, organized crime and the Archdiocese leadership. Barbarossa, a Vietnam vet and drug dealer, is hired by Frederic LeCompte, FBI kingpin and druglord (everyone has multiple occupations--and multifaceted values--in Isaacland), to keep tabs on Sidel. Masked in black stockings, Sidel and Barbarossa rob a series of social clubs belonging to mob leader Jerry DiAngelis, while Sidel's long-time girlfriend, Margaret Tolstoy, takes care of wheelchair-bound rival mobster Sal Rubino. The two warring crime figures (who were not killed in the previous Maria's Girls ) are also quarreling over some carved dolls that serve as priceless antiques and vessels for transporting illegal substances. In Sidel's world, where it's possible to swear and cry or to lie and tell the truth simultaneously, Charyn traces overwrought storylines in foul, funny language while weaving crime and violence, love, honor and betrayal (the question of who Barbarossa really works for is central) into a compelling chaotic unity. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/02/1993
Release date: 08/01/1993
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