Monday, April 11, 2011

Rizzo's Fire-Lou Manfredo

I normally use book lover, Nancy Pearl’s rule of thumb: if you don’t like a book in the first 50 pages, put it back. There is no law that says you have to finish every book you start. I couldn’t quite get into Lou Manfredo’s first novel, Rizzo’s War (2009) in the first 50 pages, but thought there might be a good reason to continue. There was a lot of exposition to wade through in the beginning pages, but I plowed on and am glad I did.

In Rizzo’s War, Manfredo introduces us to Joe Rizzo, a veteran NYC police detective covering a Brooklyn neighborhood and his newest partner, Mike McQueen. His second and newest novel, Rizzo’s Fire (2011) continues Joe’s story with another new partner, Priscilla Jackson, an African American lesbian detective, who showed up briefly in the first book.

Manfredo worked in the Brooklyn criminal justice system for 25 years, so his storytelling rings true. This is a classic police procedural, but has a little more character development than normal. We get to hear about Rizzo's wife and his struggles with his daughter, who wants to become a cop. The second book also got off to a slow start, but wasn't as disjointed as the first.

I read several reviews which compared Manfredo to Ed McBain, another writer of police procedurals, but I found his work to be much slower paced than a McBain novel. According to an interview in the New York Daily News, Manfredo is working on a third Rizzo title, due out in 2012.

Becky, Adult Services

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