Little Angel Street: An Isaac Sidel Novel

Jerome Charyn, Author
Jerome Charyn, Author Mysterious Press $19.95 (274p) ISBN 978-0-89296-462-8
Reviewed on: 10/31/1994
Release date: 11/01/1994
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-446-40048-0
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The joyous weirdness of Charyn's idiosyncratic New York City can't be described-it must be experienced. Nor can Isaac Sidel, Charyn's one-of-a-kind protagonist and former Commissioner of the NYPD, be understood on brief acquaintance. Here, in the fourth absorbing book of Charyn's Odessa quartet (following Montezuma's Man), it is the mid 1980s and Sidel has been elected mayor, with a month to go before taking office. Subject to his usual paranoia, the former Commish is hiding out in homeless shelters under an assumed name. Now bums are being killed, each one labeled with Sidel's fake name. The murders are claimed by a racist gang who call themselves the Knickerbocker Boys and use the names of Sidel's beloved 19th-century baseball stars. That a few of these white racists might be black is the sort of anomaly that Sidel takes in stride. Some trails lead to a Times Square porn palace where Romanian orphans are made available for pedophiles and where the sultry Rita works. Perhaps she can cure Isaac of his bitter love for Margaret Tolstoy, who has a bad habit of sleeping with Isaac's enemies. Other trails lead to the racists, who may have infiltrated an organization dedicated to historic-building preservation. Table tennis and baseball are near religions, and as always there are too many characters to track (someone should write a Sidel glossary). Puzzle-loving readers should take careful note of Charyn's use of perhaps and may, practicing Sidelian vigilance-the road to Gracie Mansion is loaded with potholes. (Nov.)
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