We often look back at the 1970s with fondness and a bit of nostalgia for a time when life was just a bit slower. However that time in history was neither as nostalgic nor slow paced for everyone, especially the police departments in New York.
In Blue Eyes Jerome Charyn, delivers a tough yet likable officer in Manfred Coen. Born with a handsome demeanor but a strong and stubborn streak, he is a wiz at ping-pong, among his many talents. Hard to read and sometimes brutal, he is the ultimate man to be in charge of finding the kidnapped daughter of a porno-film producer. In a time were many were on the take, Coen pits himself against the sleaziest of those in the business.
Finding himself on a trip into Mexico and chasing rumors of white slavery, he begins to understand that everything is not as it seems. Realizing he is shadowed wherever he goes, he does not understand the real danger that he has brought upon himself with is questions. Can he find out what is happening before it is too late? Set up to take a fall, he finds himself in a Ping-Pong match set up to humiliate him, and to bring him into the open. Will he survive the machinations of the people he struggles to trust?
Charyn has the ability to personify his characters, making them both gritty and bold. His sense of the outrageous and his black humor give them a feel of real life, which seems to bring them to existence in a way that is all too real. His knowledge and background of both Mexico and New York, give you the distinct feel of being there. His description of his characters and their unending ability to create chaos keep you reading on for more.
If you enjoy suspense and danger, Blue Eyes will deliver. If you have ever wondered about or had any curiosity of the ins and outs of Ping-Pong, you will find the answers. Tying such an innocuous sport in with danger and distrust is an ingenious way to create red herrings that will throw you off the path of who may be behind the most nefarious schemes as they unwind.
Set in the late 1970s, the thing that is incredible is how many of the crimes are reflective of the here and now. Manfred Coen is a protagonist you can believe in, and his stylistic form of ping-pong only adds to the character of the novel.