Review: Blue Eyes – Jerome Charyn

Paperback: 234 Pages
Publisher: Road 4/10/2012
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0747563594
ISBN-13: 978-0747563594
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Manfred Coen – A Ping Pong playing policeman investigating a sex slave ring.


A cop and his disgraced mentor attempt to bust a white slavery ring.

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.


I wasn’t certain what to think of this book at first. I had a difficult time getting into it. The language was a bit strange. There were terms used that I was unfamiliar with. I also had a very difficult time determining what the plot was exactly, there didn’t seem to be one. It seemed big on story, but small on plot. So I put it aside and let my thoughts gather on it. That’s when it struck me. I was looking at this novel as a mystery. I was expecting there to be a murder plot, or in this case a plot involving a sex slavery ring, and never really seeemed to get that.

And why didn’t I get that? Because this book isn’t really a mystery, it’s crime fiction, and it’s a genre I’ve not really read. Well, I did read The Godfather and I think it tends to be along that style of novel. It’s more about the characters, and the events around them then it is about one particular plot throughout the book.

When I looked at it in that light, I had a different appreciation for what Mr. Charyn was trying to accomplish in his book. I found the characters to be quite vivid and they fit in with their environment. With this being the first novel in the series, there was a world to establish and characters to introduce you to, some of whom I’m sure will be seen in later novels, and Mr. Charyn did a good job at creating that world for the reader.

while it wouldn’t sit at the top of my list, it is something that I might have to re-read at some point now that I understand the purpose. It’s got strong language and adult situations, so I’d recommend it only for older teens or adults.

While it didn’t quite grab me at first, I would be intrigued to enter the world again and see what happens next with Isaac Sidel.

About the Author

Jerome Charyn (born May 13, 1937) is an award-winning American author. With nearly 50 published works, Charyn has earned a long-standing reputation as an inventive and prolific chronicler of real and imagined American life. Michael Chabon calls him “one of the most important writers in American literature.”

New York Newsday hailed Charyn as “a contemporary American Balzac,” and the Los Angeles Times described him as “absolutely unique among American writers.”

Since the 1964 release of Charyn’s first novel, Once Upon a Droshky, he has published 30 novels, three memoirs, eight graphic novels, two books about film, short stories, plays and works of non-fiction. Two of his memoirs were named New York Times Book of the Year. Charyn has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. He received the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and has been named Commander of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture.

Charyn was Distinguished Professor of Film Studies at the American University of Paris until he left teaching in 2009.

In addition to his writing and teaching, Charyn is a tournament table tennis player, once ranked in the top 10 percent of players in France. Noted novelist Don DeLillo called Charyn’s book on table tennis, Sizzling Chops & Devilish Spins, “The Sun Also Rises of ping-pong.”

Charyn lives in Paris and New York City.

Jerome Charyn’s web site:

Jerome Charyn’s Facebook:!/jerome.charyn

Jerome Charyn’s Twitter:

Issac Sidel’s Twitter:!/IsaacSidel

Tribute Books Blog Tours Facebook:

Blue Eyes blog tour site:

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Nicole at Tribute Books for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

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2 Responses to “Review: Blue Eyes – Jerome Charyn”

  1. Nicole Langan Says:

    Rick, thanks for the review.

  2. lenoreblog Says:

    Thank you so much. I appreciate your honesty and your perseverance – and yes, you found the key to this genre-bending noir pup classic.

    So glad you enjoyed the crazy world of 1970s NYC Charyn created for this series – hope you will visit it again in books 2 thru 10 (book 2 is one of the first literary prequels ever written!) Don’t be a stranger!