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Rizzo's War (Rizzo Series) Hardcover – September 29, 2009

3.9 out of 5 stars 123 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Manfredo's debut introduces a likable if predictable hero, Det. Joe Rizzo, a white knight in the dark city of New York. Though pondering retirement after 27 years on the force, Rizzo is content to nurture a new partner, Mike McQueen, a young NYPD detective who's quickly risen in the ranks through equal parts skill and political opportunity. Together, they tackle cases both big and small, though most of the action involves a missing teenager whose father is a shady Brooklyn councilman. The author excels at moving his plot forward and creating a realistic landscape that shows both the politics and practice of police work. A wonderful husband and dad, Rizzo drops chestnuts of wisdom at every turn. McQueen, meanwhile, comes across as fawning and naïve. Through several subplots, Manfredo lays the foundation for future entries, but their success may require a new dynamic for the syrupy monotony of the two main characters' relationship. 100,000 first printing. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Praise for Rizzo’s War

“Lou Manfredo gets it. As a depiction of the Byzantine, politicized existence of a working American police department, Rizzo’s War stands as a valuable primer. This is good police work as it actually occurs—full of flaw and compromise, absent the pristine science of television procedurals, and bearing only a vague resemblance to what any social or legal philosopher might define as justice. With all of that said, though, sometimes good police work is nearly enough.”
—David Simon, creator of The Wire

“I’ve read a lot of New York cop novels in my lifetime, but Lou Manfredo has managed to introduce totally original characters in Joe Rizzo and his young partner. Rizzo’s War is about story, character, and an engaging literary style that should make the author the next big one.”
Otto Penzler, owner of The Mysterious Bookshop

"Rizzo’s War is exceptional. Most urban crime novels do not tell it like it is. They give their heroes square jaws and reduce subtle moral shadings to plainly dishonest black-and-white. But this is a bold adventure in the gray zone—in other words, the world that most of us actually live in. The people are recognizable, the talk is good, and the story is swift. Somewhere in fiction heaven, Dashiell Hammett and Jane Austen are both admiring Joe Rizzo’s undeluded pragmatism. It’s a terrific debut and Lou Manfredo is a writer to watch.”
—Peter Blauner, author of Slipping into Darkness and Slow Motion Riot

“A compelling, beautifully written debut novel. Joe Rizzo walks a morally complicated tightrope between self-protection and self-destruction, and we cannot look away. No one knows this world like Lou Manfredo. Rizzo’s War is the best police procedural I’ve read in a decade.”
—Tim McLoughlin, editor of Brooklyn Noir


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Product Details

  • Series: Rizzo Series (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (September 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312538057
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312538057
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,221,649 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have mixed feelings about this book.

It was a well-told story about a NYPD detective nearing the end of his career who is tapped along with his young partner to find the missing daughter of a shady councilman. But that doesn’t happen until almost halfway through the book.

But it’s not a true police procedural or mystery because there’s very little investigation in the search for the missing girl. Everything gets done on the basis of favors owed and collected, presenting a rather bleak picture of how police work is really done. Rizzo explains it away by saying, “There is no right and there is no wrong. There just is.”

Manfredo writes from a very omniscient POV, drifting easily from one character’s head into another’s and back. He does it so smoothly, however, the lurch that sometimes happens with ‘head hopping’ isn’t there.

The book is called ‘Rizzo’s War’ but it’s as much about Mike McQueen, his partner, as it is about Joe Rizzo. It’s more of a character-driven story since it explores the compromises they make over the course of the story and the effect it has on them, especially Mike.

There are two more books in this series, and this one was good enough to make me want to read them.
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Format: Audio CD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Whenever one of my friends studying criminal justice comes over to my apartment and find Law and Order on my DVR, they cringe and give me the look of shame. "That is NOT how it is in real life!!" they would say and I would have to wrestle the remote out of their hands to prevent them from deleting my recordings of Law and Order and Desperate Housewives (I swear, what we record for our women). It is true that there is a gross amount of false preconceived notions about law enforcement due mostly in part to cop dramas and "bad science" passed around the mass media. This is commonly referred to as the "CSI effect."

In reality, however, the world of law enforcement is entirely different as it is filled more with bureaucracy, paperwork, interviews, and note taking than busting down doors. Rizzo's War focuses on this truer aspect more than anything else as the several discs of this set take place almost entirely during an investigation process... in the unmarked Chevrolet Impala to be precise.

Rizzo's War follows has the base formula of a standard cop-drama; two differing cops made partners. One is a veteran of the force (Rizzo) while the other is a rookie trying to find his place in the world (McQueen). They both wish to solve a crime but have two different ideas of how to do it. Unlike most cop-dramas, however, Rizzo's War takes the unique approach of presenting the story as a procedural piece rather than use action every now and again. What this means is that Rizzo's War is so precise on cop procedure that it lacks any real action or climax all the while showing procedure to the point of boredom.

Meanwhile, the story follows a very, VERY slow method of solving a sex crime.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
To begin with, this is not a thriller, it's a police procedural, what the French call a policier. It's a very good policier, but if you're waiting for the big scene, the one a young Schwarzenegger would star in, you're going to be sorely disappointed.

It focuses on two detectives, an older Italian cop (Joe) wise to the ways of the city, and a younger, idealistic Irish cop (Mike) just learning the ropes and wondering whether he should use his NYU degree elsewhere. Except for a few scenes with another cop, a pretty black lesbian policewoman, Joe and Mike are really the only characters we get to know, and following them around in their unmarked Impala pretty much makes up the action of the book.

There's lots of philosophizing by these two men in an action profession, but for a while that's OK. Manfredo seems to know how cops talk, and if you don't, you will by the time you finish this book. Unfortunately, Joe and Mike, especially Joe, talk too much. After a couple of hundred pages you really do wish they'd shut up and get on with it. Moreover, when another character comes along, especially another cop, he sounds awfully like Joe and Mike. Even the priests sound like cops. And they all do talk, and talk, and talk. There is very little action in this book.

But there is a good spirit hovering over it. Joe and Mike are decent men, two of the most decent you are likely to meet in a modern novel. Priscilla, the black policewoman, is decent too. Joe's wife is a wonderful wife and a perfect mother. The two priests are saintly, however rough their speech. There are bad people, to be sure. Corrupt cops, crooked politicians, nasty perps and an evil motorcycle gang. But, for all the cynical cop-talk, the author seems to believe in the essential goodness of mankind.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
RIZZO'S WAR by Lou Manfredo is an excellent police procedural. I picked the author out reading a noir short story book and followed it to Rizzo and glad I did. Rizzo is veteran detective Joe Rizzo who gets a new partner in new detective Mike McQueen. The best part is the procedural part and the dialogue. So real. The case they tackle is very good. RECOMMENDED On to the next in the series.
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