Under the Eye of God Book Summary
After decades of madness in the Bronx, Isaac Sidel visits the craziest state in the country.
Isaac Sidel is too popular to be America’s vice president. Once the New York Police Department commissioner, he became the most beloved mayor in the city’s history—famous for his refusal to surrender his Glock, and for his habit of disappearing for months at a time to fight crime at street level. So when baseball czar J. Michael Storm asks Sidel to join him on the election’s Democratic ticket, the two wild men romp to an unprecedented landslide. But as the president-elect’s mandate goes off the rails—threatened by corruption, sex, and God knows what else—he tires of being overshadowed by Sidel, and dispatches him to a place from which tough politicians seldom return: Texas.
In the Lone Star state, Sidel confronts rogue astrologers, accusations of pedophilia, and a dimwitted assassin who doesn’t know when to take an easy shot. If this Bronx bomber doesn’t watch his step, he risks making vice-presidential history by getting killed on the job.
I began reading Under the Eye of God not really knowing what to expect other than another detective novel, which I don’t usually read. What did I get? I’m not so sure how to describe it. I guess you could say it was a mix of various things. This being the first novel by Charyn that I’ve read, it was in no way an easy read for me.
The story holds a plethora of characters that appear throughout the novel, making it very difficult to keep straight who is who. Not to mention, the plot itself is highly complex and tenebrous and quite frankly difficult to get into. It was dark and violent, but that didn’t bother me surprisingly enough. While trying so desperately to grasp this storyline, it wasn’t until I was midway through that I realized the story was mainly turning around its main character, Isaac Sidel. In my opinion, the plot line just became secondary and I’m not sure if it’s because I hadn’t read any other books from this series or because the unfolding character development of Isaac Sidel is so strong. Under the Eye of God is an in-depth character analysis of him, as I suspect the other books in this series are too. Isaac Sidel is a man who could be described as violent, strong, judgmental, revengeful, successful, and determined. His traits portray him to be just as good as he is bad. He’s flawed and that’s what makes the story.
Reading and learning more of the thoughts of Isaac Sidel, while following all the other complex characters, I started to enjoy the book more because of the crazy, organized underworld, along with the historical references to American history. If you’re looking for sex scandals, accusations of pedophilia, a surprising presidential election, lots of swearing, violence, and loads of shady characters, this is the book for you. The writing style can take some getting used to but it’s precise, direct, and clear. The overall plot line is the only thing which is not necessarily clear and not particularly interesting. However, it’s the recounting of memories, incidents, and the distinct characters that make Under the Eye of God highly readable. In essence, being introduced to Charyn’s writing has sparked my interest in checking out the first in the Isaac Sidel series called Blue Eyes. I’m sure it will give more of a framework and understanding of the Isaac Sidel series. I gave this book three stars on Goodreads, although I don’t think this book is for everyone. Click the link below to follow the Tribute Books blog tour for more reviews and interviews of Jerome Charyn on Under the Eye of God.
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Jerome Charyn’s Bio:
Jerome Charyn (b. 1937) is the critically acclaimed author of nearly fifty books. Born in the Bronx, he attended Columbia College, where he fell in love with the works of William Faulkner and James Joyce. After graduating, he took a job as a playground director and wrote in his spare time, producing his first novel, a Lower East Side fairytale called Once Upon a Droshky, in 1964.
In 1974 Charyn published Blue Eyes, his first Isaac Sidel mystery. Begun as a distraction while trying to finish a different book, this first in a series of Sidel novels introduced the eccentric, near-mythic detective and his bizarre cast of sidekicks. Charyn followed the character through Citizen Sidel (1999), which ends with his anti-hero making a run at the White House. Charyn, who divides his time between New York and Paris, is also accomplished at table tennis, and once ranked amongst France’s top Amazon10 percent of ping-pong players.
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Release: October 30, 2012
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I love being a writer. What I can’t stand is the paperwork.
—— Peter DE VRIES