On the eve of a White House run, Sidel cleans up a mess in his old backyardTired 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.
In contrast to the bleak and poignant atmosphere of his most recent Isaac Sidel book, 1997's El Bronx, Charyn offers knockabout farce in this latest adventure of the gun-toting New York mayor. It may take readers a few pages to get into the surprising mood, but by the third or fourth time Sidel gets knocked on his keister they'll will be ready for anything--even a vision of Sidel tucking his ever-present Glock into a pair of orange pants in order to impersonate an Isaac Babel character named Benya Krik. The novel is full of smart jokes: a luxurious nursing home is called Riverrun and a trained rat is named Raskolnikov. Mayor Sidel has been chosen as the vice-presidential candidate by the Democrats, to add muscle to the ticket headed by J. Michael Storm, baseball czar and former student radical. Up against Isaac and Storm are ruthless Republicans, crooked cops and corrupt FBI agents, deadly Bronx gangsters, kamikaze assassins and an 85-year-old Romanian once known as the Butcher of Bucharest. " `A period in the right place is like a hammer in the heart.' That's what Babel said," a literature teacher tells Sidel. Charyn proves once again--with energy, imagination and perfect periods galore--that he knows how to swing a hammer like nobody's business.