Death of a Tango King

Jerome Charyn, Author New York University Press $25 (256p) ISBN 978-0-8147-1575-8
The prolific Charyn's last novel, El Bronx, was one of the best in his series about crusading New York Mayor Isaac Seidel. His most recent work of nonfiction, The Dark Lady from Belorusse, was a richly touching memoir of his mother. How then to explain this odd, jerky, decidedly uncharacteristic 28th novel--except to call it a failed exercise. Amateur bank robber Yolanda is captured on her first job, then yanked out of prison by an ecological action group called the Christian Commandos, who, with the apparent backing of the president, send her to Medell n, where her cousin, Ruben Falcone, heads the drug cartel. The Commandos ostensibly want Falcone's help in protecting the rain forest. The story switches and slides through so many changes, and Charyn's usually sure hand with language falters and sputters so often, that even his most respectful readers may want to pass on this one. (June)
Reviewed on: 03/02/1998
Release date: 03/01/1998
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