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Exquisitely weaving fact and fiction this heart-rending yet fascinating historical novel is set during a time of clandestine opposition to the Nazis. Chief of the Abwehr, spymaster Wilhelm Canaris, creates an almost mythical figure when he recruits a young man and calls him Cesare. The story centres around Canaris, Erik (Cesare) and Lisa, the woman who effectively set Erik on his course. Using the real-life Canaris ensured my mind almost played tricks on me, and at times I struggled to remember that this was fiction, as it felt all too real. Jerome Charyn successfully highlights the contradictory nature of Canaris, this is the man who suggested the yellow Star of David in 1935 to identify Jews, but by 1939 and the outbreak of war began attempts to undermine the Nazi regime. There is a raw, almost brutal quality to the all-consuming storyline. Yet this is intoxicatingly readable and the central relationships encouraged me on to the finish. By the end I was mentally shattered, this most certainly isn’t an easy read, but it is enthralling. This novel encouraged me to research the history of Admiral Canaris, to consider the nature of good and evil and how it combines when contained within human nature. Cesare is haunting, traumatic, and yet I wholeheartedly recommend, and include it as one of my Liz Picks of the Month.
Charyn skillfully breathes life into historical icons. -New Yorker J.D. Salinger, mysterious author of The Catcher in the Rye, is remembered today as a reclusive misanthrope. Jerome Charyn's Salinger is a young American WWII draftee assigned to the Counter Intelligence Corps, a band of secret soldiers who trained with the British. A rifleman and an interrogator, he witnessed all the horrors of the war-from the landing on D-Day to the relentless hand-to-hand combat in the hedgerows of Normandy, to the Battle of the Bulge, and finally to the first Allied entry into a Bavarian death camp, where corpses were piled like cordwood. After the war, interned in a Nuremberg psychiatric clinic, Salinger became enchanted with a suspected Nazi informant. They married, but not long after he brought her home to New York, the marriage collapsed. Maladjusted to civilian life, he lived like a spook, with invisible stripes on his shoulder, the ghosts of the murdered inside his head, and stories to tell. Grounded in biographical fact and reimagined as only Charyn could, Sergeant Salinger is an astonishing portrait of a devastated young man on his way to becoming the mythical figure behind a novel that has marked generations. Jerome Charyn is the author of more than fifty works of fiction and nonfiction, including Cesare: A Novel of War-Torn Berlin. He lives in New York.
Widely considered one of our most rewarding novelists, Jerome Charyn has upped the ante (Larry McMurtry) by re-creating the voice of Theodore Roosevelt through his derring-do adventures as New York City police commissioner, Rough Rider, and soon-to-be twenty-sixth president. Beginning with his sickly childhood and concluding with McKinley's assassination in 1901, Charyn positions Roosevelt as a fearless crime fighter and pioneering environmentalist who would grow up to be our greatest peacetime president. With an operatic cast, including Bamie, his handicapped older sister; Eleanor, his gawky little niece; as well as the devoted Rough Riders; the novel memorably features the lovable mountain lion Josephine, who helped train Roosevelt for his crowded hour, the charge up San Juan Hill. Graced with vivid, vigorous writing (Gerard Helferich, Wall Street Journal), The Perilous Adventures of the Cowboy King is a rollicking work of historical fiction that will appeal to fans of Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.
Raising the literary bar to a new level, Jerome Charyn re-creates the voice of Theodore Roosevelt, the New York City police commissioner, Rough Rider, and soon- to-be twenty-sixth president through his derring-do adventures, effortlessly combining superhero dialogue with haunting pathos. Beginning with his sickly childhood and concluding with McKinley's assassination, the novel positions Roosevelt as a perfect bull in a china shop, a fearless crime fighter and pioneering environmentalist who would grow up to be our greatest peacetime president. With an operatic cast, including Bamie, his handicapped older sister; Eleanor, his gawky little niece; as well as the devoted Rough Riders, the novel memorably features the lovable mountain lion Josephine, who helped train Roosevelt for his crowded hour, the charge up San Juan Hill. Lauded by Jonathan Lethem for his polymorphous imagination and crack comic timing, Charyn has created a classic of historical fiction, confirming his place as one of the most important writers in American literature (Michael Chabon).
Before Isaac Sidel adopts him, Manfred Coen is a mutt. A kid from the Bronx, he joins the police academy after his father's suicide leaves him directionless, and is trudging along like any other cadet when first deputy Sidel, the commissioner's right hand man, comes looking for a young cop with blue eyes to infiltrate a ring of Polish smugglers. He chooses Coen, and asks the cadet to join his department after he finishes the academy. Working under Sidel means fast promotions, plush assignments, and, when a corruption scandal topples his mentor, the resentment of every rank-and-file detective on the force. Now just an ordinary cop, Coen hears word that his old mentor has a line on a human trafficking operation. When Sidel's attempt at infiltration fails, he sends in Coen. For Coen, it's a shot to prove himself and redeem his mentor, but it could cost the blue-eyed cop his life.
Isaac Sidel is a bear of a cop. Although his position as the commissioner's first deputy is largely political, Sidel has not forgotten how to work the New York City streets. To protect the East Side he has survived gunfights, broken arms, and once tore out a hoodlum's eyes. In his spare time he does favors for old friends, finding runaway daughters and protecting merchants from roving street gangs. On the street there is no problem he can't solve, but at home he is powerless. His daughter Marilyn, twenty-five and twice divorced, keeps Sidel up at night. Just before her father goes to Paris for a lecture on police work, Marilyn runs away from her newest husband and shacks up with Manfred Coen, Sidel's blue-eyed protege cop. Both men love her, and when Marilyn becomes a target, they'll destroy the city to save her, if they don't kill each other first.
Though incorruptible - at least by New York Police Department standards - Detective Isaac Sidel knows that sometimes it's useful to look a little dirty. To gain access to the Bronx-based Guzmann crime syndicate, rumored to be building a human trafficking operation in Spanish Harlem, Sidel had himself kicked off the force on a corruption charge. With the help of Manfred Coen, a young cop whom Sidel once mentored, he posed as a desperate, dirty cop in hopes of infiltrating the Guzmann family. The gamble got Coen killed, and left Sidel with nothing but guilt, bruises, and a tapeworm. Now the detective craves revenge. To break down the syndicate, he targets Patrick Silver, the Guinness-addicted handler of forty-four-year-old man-child Jeronimo Guzmann. When a crush on Odile, porn queen of the Bronx, confuses Patrick's loyalty, the family begins to tear itself apart. It's up to Isaac Sidel to make sure they don't take the city with them.
The ragged old man has a tapeworm in his gut and a room at a nameless Whore's Row hotel, but to those in the know, he is one of the most powerful people in New York. Once the first deputy of the police commissioner, Isaac Sidel has lived in impoverished exile ever since the death of his detective protege, Manfred Coen. As he wanders the streets around Times Square, Sidel spies a prostitute with a fearsome scar: a letter D seared into her cheek. His pity stirred, he asks her name and buys her a meal. Afterwards, he sets out to destroy the man who branded her. Sidel's target is a pimp with a love for James Joyce and a hand in the pocket of the police commissioner. Taking him down will mean upending the force that Sidel once served, but if the tapeworm doesn't stop him, no crook can.
After he stops killing for money, Sidney Holden tries to live discreetly. He takes a Manhattan apartment in the Copenhagen building, a few blocks from where John Lennon died, and attempts to make a new life with his fiancee, Fay, former daughter-in-law of the district attorney. But as the quiet months pass, Fay grows distant and suicidal, and finally disappears, removed by the district attorney to a mental hospital where Holden cannot reach her. Hungry for a last taste of action, a billionaire ex-gangster named Phipps offers to help Holden get her back. The ninety-two-year-old Phipps hires Holden to run a counterfeiting scheme, using Fay's whereabouts as bait. But the closer Holden gets to Phipps' operation, the less he trusts the old man. And with the DA and the mafia closing on him, Holden may not stay alive long enough to rescue his darling from her prison.
Joey Barbarossa likes being a cop, because it makes dealing drugs easier. Any time a fellow pusher gives him trouble, Joey's detective badge and police-issue Glock have a way of making the problem disappear. He's also protected by his mentor, NYPD Commissioner Isaac Sidel, but there's nothing even Sidel can do when Barbarossa makes the mistake of rubbing out a dealer with ties to the Justice Department. For compensation, Justice demands Barbarossa start spying on Sidel, who's just made him his personal chauffer. The drug-dealing detective can't say no. Sidel is preparing for a run at the mayor's office, but before his campaign kicks off he has to deal with two mob bosses who want him dead. He and Barbarossa don ski masks and start holding up mafia establishments, but as the pressure rises and the friendship frays, the only question is which cop will turn on the other first.
For Detective Caroll Brent, special attention from Commissioner Sidel is not a good thing. Sidel's last pet detective, Manfred Coen, was killed by a gang of smugglers, and none of Sidel's favorites have had good luck since. But when Sidel taps Brent for an unusual assignment, the young cop can't refuse. As part of a feud with the head of the Board of Education, Sidel turns Brent into a one-man special task force to patrol the city's schools. The lonely, miserable, dangerous work is not Brent's only trouble. Ever since he made the mistake of marrying an heiress, he has been spending like mad to keep up with her lifestyle, borrowing money from the mob to keep himself in tuxedos on a detective's salary. When his money runs out, it's Sidel who will have to cover the debt.
In his years serving the people of New York, Isaac Sidel has often rescued the city from oblivion, but never has he faced anything as dangerous as the current baseball strike. The South Bronx, a wasteland of drugs, murder, and urban blight, is kept from sliding into utter chaos by Yankee Stadium's steady stream of tourists. Every week that the strike continues and the fans stay away, the Bronx slips closer to the edge. As the crime rate spikes, a lone bright spot remains. Alyosha, a mysterious twelve-year-old graffiti artist, paints dramatic murals to commemorate the dead. When Alyosha befriends the daughter of the lawyer representing the player's union, Sidel sees a possible solution to the Bronx's woes. But there is too much money in baseball for the strike to be settled peacefully. Before the season starts, more blood will stain the sidewalks of El Bronx.
For the first time in his adult life, Isaac Sidel is no longer a cop. He has moved beyond the halls of One Police Plaza, and is about to take residence in Gracie Mansion, after winning New York's mayoral election in a landslide. Unable to bear his downtown apartment without his girlfriend-who is in Europe confronting her Nazi-tinged past - the increasingly paranoid mayor-elect has set up shop in a homeless shelter under the name Geronimo Jones. His aides roust him from his hiding spot and have returned him to work when he gets a call from the shelter: Geronimo Jones is dead. A gang of white supremacists roams the city, murdering shelter residents and marking them with Sidel's alias. They leave notes with each victim, signing them with the names of nineteenth-century baseball players. Mayors don't go armed, but Sidel isn't the mayor yet. He and his Glock will settle this problem before he takes his oath of office.
When he was the police commissioner's first deputy, Isaac Sidel was one of the most powerful men in New York. But now that he's been promoted to the top job, there's nothing for Sidel to do but stare at his desk and feed the tapeworm that's attached to his stomach. The Justice Department sends him on a lecture tour of the country, but after one too many lunches with small-town mayors, Sidel goes AWOL and comes back to New York, getting in touch with the Ivanhoes, his illegal network of secret informants. A missing mob lawyer, a baseball-obsessed orphan genius, and a mysterious Romanian princess point towards a mystery that only he can tackle. Justice wants him back on tour, but something is rumbling beneath the city, and Sidel needs to be there to see it explode.
Tired of being led by weaklings, the American people have fallen in love with J. Michael Storm and Isaac Sidel, the lawyer and the New York mayor who saved the country from the worst baseball strike in history. The Democratic National Convention is at Madison Square Garden, and when Storm is nominated for the presidency, he's going to put the eccentric, gun-toting Sidel at the bottom of the ticket. But before Sidel can take his shot at the White House, he has a few loose ends to tie up. He's most preoccupied with a father-and-son detective team suspected of running a murder-for-hire operation that went south, resulting in the father shooting his son. Sidel suspects there's more to the story, and until he's gotten to the bottom of it, the vice presidency will have to wait.
Though he doesn't know mink from sable, Sidney Holden is the most important employee at Aladdin Furs. He is a bumper, a well-dressed killer who collects the debts that cannot be paid, and Aladdin would be nothing without him. After all, fur is murder. As Cuban refugees flood the United States, the New York criminal class is rocked by the appearance of a Santeria sect that hails a young girl as the newest incarnation of Chango, their bloodthirsty thunder god. But after a routine hit, Holden finds the girl cowering under the kitchen table - a divine witness to a double murder. Unable to kill her, he takes her with him, sparking an all-out turf war so vicious that Holden will be happy to have any god on his side.