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Under the Eye of God: An Isaac Sidel Novel (The Isaac Sidel Novels) Paperback – October 30, 2012

3.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Isaac Sidel has had a storied career. He was a New York City cop, then police commissioner, then mayor, then vice-presidential candidate, and now, in the first new book since Citizen Sidel (1999), he’s the newly elected but not yet installed VP. But here’s the thing: the president-elect, J. Michael Storm, is embroiled in controversies of his own making, and Isaac’s own huge popularity is threatening to eclipse Storm’s. So the Democratic Party strategy-makers decide to send Isaac on a road trip to Texas, where, almost immediately, Isaac is the near-victim of a near-assassination attempt that turns out to be a near-total sham (or is it?). Add to that, among other things, some truly disturbing and utterly ludicrous charges of pedophilia and some overly ambitious political types. Over time the Sidel novels have undergone a tonal change, never making the transition to outright comedy but becoming lighter as Isaac has moved from cop to political animal. The series has flown under the radar of many readers, despite a relatively recent reissuing of the earlier titles, but with any luck this new one might raise reader awareness. --David Pitt

Review

Praise for Jerome Charyn:

“He writes like greased lightning.” —Time Out
 
“A realist of the urban nightmare.” —Chicago Tribune
 
“For a couple of decades now, Jerome Charyn has been remaking the detective story.” —The Washington Post Book World
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Product Details

  • Series: The Isaac Sidel Novels
  • Paperback: 222 pages
  • Publisher: MysteriousPress.com/Open Road (October 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 145327099X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1453270998
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,226,637 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
There were several things I really enjoyed about this book. It had the expectation of one of the old "noir" movies of yesteryear, with the mob, the femme fatale, and our lone (and lonely) hero.

The idealism of the protagonist, Isaac Sidel, was refreshing. He was portrayed as a man of principle, though not above using the lower elements outside the law to stand up for what is right. Isaac doesn't spend much time worrying about what the pundits will think of his actions - he does what needs to be done. Even so, he never devolves into a caricature of the proverbial "knight in shining armor". We still have opportunity to see his flaws, which makes him more relatable to the human element we all endure. Too bad we never see a politician like him.

The political arena of the book reflects the reality that both sides of the aisle are neither all good nor all evil. This was an element I thought was well portrayed, that it's still politics as usual when it comes to Washington D.C., regardless of which party Isaac attaches to at any given time. Isaac remains true to who he is, not beholden to any particular group or the machinations behind the scenes. Sometimes his idealism gets him into trouble with both sides, but Isaac is first and foremost a man of the law, Old West style. He even totes his gun around with him everywhere he goes, to the chagrin of the Secret Service - funny at times!

Another favorite character wasn't a true character at all. The Ansonia (a very real, iconic New York City hotel/apartment building), with its seventeen floors of circular living rooms and windows of etched glass, was a standout. The descriptions of the Ansonia and her occupants, both in her hey-day and the present, were intoxicatingly rich.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I think the thing that really struck me about this book was the political corruption detailed. From the beginning of the book, I was intrigued, and it made me think about whether the book was realistic or not. So much has changed within the U.S. and continues to do so, but if this indicative of some of the things that go on in government, well, I am kind of frightened. How can a vice-president who does nothing but underhanded deals be so well liked?

I was glad there were no sex scenes and no nasty scenes of violence within this book. However, there was some profanity and although not as rampant as I thought, the profanity in this book is hardcore. I have to admit that I found myself bored at times in spite of the intriguing topic. I think that if had a background in politics, I may have connected with the characters more. While this book was not a book that really impacted me, the premise really made me think. I always like books that keep my brain working. And if I study up on my politics, I just may understand this book more.

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.
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Format: Paperback
I'm not sure what Under the Eye of God is meant to be. Is it a thriller that doesn't thrill? A political satire that isn't funny? A melodrama that lacks emotion? The novel attempts to be many things and doesn't succeed at any of them. The meandering story is eventful, but it is ultimately a tale full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Isaac Sidel, the immensely popular gun-toting mayor of New York, is running for vice president in 1988. The scandal-ridden presidential candidate is Michael Storm. Sidel is wildly popular with the electorate, largely because he carries a Glock and regularly shoots people with it, and is largely responsible for Storm's victory. The incumbent president, perhaps an even bigger scoundrel than Storm, decides to frame Sidel as a pedophile (an accusation made possible only because Sidel is inexplicably traveling on a campaign bus with Storm's immensely popular twelve-year-old girl), thus nullifying the party's best asset. Sidel tumbles to the plot only because the president's astrologer abandons him after he punches her in the nose. We learn all of this in a preposterous first chapter that ends with Sidel tackling an apparent assassin because the four screamingly incompetent Secret Service agents charged with protecting him are too far away to act.

Later in the novel we learn that the astrologer isn't who she seems to be, that various would-be assassins aren't who they seem to be, and that a glamorous woman named Inez -- who becomes the most recent of Sidel's varied love interests -- is really Trudy Winckleman. Trudy is the modern incarnation of the orginal Inez, a woman who captivated gangster Arnold Rothstein in the 1920s. Rothstein was the mentor of David Pearl who, in turn, became Sidel's mentor.
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Format: Paperback
A couple days ago I finished reading my second Jerome Charyn novel. After reading The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson last year I expected this novel to be somewhat different than the average thriller and I wasn't wrong. Under the Eye of God by Jerome Charyn is a quirky book: a thriller that doesn't seem overly concerned with the action in the story.

This novel is definitely not a run of the mill thriller. It seems to be more of a character study of the main character, Isaac Sidel. The reader spends a lot of time inside Sidel's head discovering what he is thinking and feeling about everything that's happening around him as well as getting a glimpse into his past. The reader gets to know Sidel very well by the end of the story. Some of the tensest action scenes are not played out on the page but are recounted by Sidel as he ponders the events. I didn't find this book an easy read. The plot doesn't unfold in a straightforward manner. I had to keep reading and let Sidel's thoughts and memories spill out, gradually giving me the entire picture. I have to admit I wasn't terribly interested in the actual plot of the book even though, with the US presidential election held last month, it is very topical. There is too much double crossing and scheming going on for the reader to guess who can be trusted and what is likely to happen next - maybe it's more like real life than the average novel. But I found it worth persevering with the story for the chance to slip into the world that Charyn creates. He takes Sidel back in his memories to his childhood in 1940s gangster run New York City. It's a world of violence and opulence with a moral code all its own.
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