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Rizzo's War by Lou Manfredo
Review by Linda Marie Schumacher
Minotaur Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780312538057
Date: 29 September 2009 List Price $24.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

If you love New York police dramas, you will love Rizzo's War by Lou Manfredo. Joe Rizzo and his young partner, Mike McQueen are asked to find a missing daughter of a local politician.

Joe Rizzo is a very endearing career NYC policeman. He and his partner, Mike McQueen are detectives in Brooklyn. Joe is a career policeman with twenty plus years on the force. Mike has about 6 years of service and being in the right place at the right time got him a detective shield at his early age.

The plot line in Rizzo's War by Lou Manfredo, concerns the two detectives looking for a runaway rich girl, daughter of a local politician. The story, however, is really character-driven. Joe is the old salt, and is imparting his wisdom to his young partner. Joe's mantra, "Nothing is right. Nothing is wrong. It just is," repeats throughout the novel. Politics certainly affect local decisions, and the local police. As McQueen and Rizzo perform the investigation, they sometimes have to bend the rules a bit. Is it right or wrong?

My favorite character is Mike's former partner, Priscilla Jackson. Priscilla is a woman, black, and gay. She is a minority on many levels. Her style is direct, and she has street smarts that bring a great perspective to the story. She assists Joe and Mike in some of their investigation and is always able to provide insight to the two white men who are the detectives.

One of the clues in the investigation ties the young girl to a motorcycle gang. Priscilla Jackson, as a former rider, is able to get the detectives a meeting with the leader of one of the major gangs. The rules of right and wrong, and Rizzo's mantra, are applied completely as they negotiate a with the bikers to provide them information for their investigation. As the detectives met with the bikers, I was fascinated. The gangs are ruthless. Some of the words I heard them use I have not heard since I was a sailor on a ship in the Navy!

I read Rizzo's War as a "car book". In addition to my gratis copy from Gumshoe, I purchased the book on CD. It is great to listen when I am driving. I am able to do more "reading" this way. Bobby Cannavale, of Will and Grace fame, does a great job narrating the book. His voice portrayal of Joe Rizzo is perfect. It captures that gruff, but lovable, Italian-descended Brooklyn cop.

The "War" in the title, that Rizzo must fight, is the everyday life of a New York City policeman and citizen, coupled with his or her decision of what options to choose. The rules of right and wrong are blurry, as Rizzo's mantra conveys.

I highly recommend Rizzo's War, by Lou Manfredo. I like the story. I love the characters. Plus, I especially like the visit into the world of Brooklyn in New York City.

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