Cover image for Blaze
Title:
Blaze
Author:
Leuci, Robert, 1940-2015.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Avon Books, 1999.
Physical Description:
382 pages ; 25 cm
Language:
English
Geographic Term:
ISBN:
9780380976256
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

A police captain and lead investigator for the chief of New York's detectives, Nora Riter is smart, strong-willed, and beautiful--a rising star. But her personal life is threatening to send her career into a nosedive. Struggling to reestablish controlboth professionally and personally-she takes on a case that leads her to the meanest of Brooklyn's streets, the domain of Blaze Longo, a Red Hook loan shark and pathological killer in steel-toed boots. Longo's reputation for cruelty and sadistic behavior strikes terror in the hearts of even the most hardened tough guys. Up until now, he has remained untouchable. But Blaze has never encountered the like of Captain Nora Riter.

But she needs help, and it's coming in the form of a most unlikely ally: good-looking sometime actor, always streetwise Nicky the Hawk Ossman. Ossman knows Brooklyn's Red Hook better than anyone and he has good reasons to want the psychopathic Blaze oft the streets. There's Nicky's adopted sevenyear-old son, Tino, and a light-headed prostitute cousin named Irma, both of whom share Nicky's life-and neither can make it through this life without him. Therefore, a stretch in prison for assaulting a vice cop--a very real prospect proposed to him by a determined Nora Riter-is unthinkable. So he agrees to go undercover to nail the madman Blaze.

Stalking Longo is perilous work, and Nicky soon wants out. Nora, however, wants Longo in the worst way. Circumstance has thrown Nora and Nicky together in this very dangerous game, which is smelling increasingly of secrecy, lies, and betrayal emanating from the top levels of the department. But they can survive the coming conflagration if they are willing to break all their own rules. There is one busted commandment, however, that could cost them everything: the unwritten law that says a cop and her informant must never get romantically involved.

A police captain and lead investigator for the chief of New York's detectives, Nora Riter is smart, strong-willed, and beautiful-a rising star. But her personal life is threatening to send her career into a nosedive. Struggling to reestablish control-both professionally and personally-she takes on a case that leads her to the meanest of Brooklyn's streets, the domain of Blaze Longo, a Red Hook loan shark and pathological killer in steel-toed boots. Longo's reputation for cruelty and sadistic behavior strikes terror in the heads of even the most hardened tough guys. Up until now, he has remained untouchable. But Blaze has never encountered the like of Captain Nora Riter.

But she needs help, and it's coming in the form of a most unlikely ally: good-looking sometime actor, always streetwise Nicky the Hawk Ossman. Ossman knows Brooklyn's Red Hook better than anyone and he has good reasons to want the psychopathic Blaze off the streets. There's Nicky's adopted seven-year-old son, Tino, and a light-headed prostitute cousin named Irma, both of whom share Nicky's life-and neither can make it through this life without him. Therefore, a stretch in prison for assaulting a vice cop-a very real proposed to him by a determined Nora Riter-is unthinkable. So he agrees to go undercover to nail the madman Blaze.

Stalking Longo is perilous work, and Nicky soon wants out. Nora, however, wants Longo in the worst way. Circumstance has thrown Nora and Nicky together in this very dangerous game, which is smelling increasingly of secrecy, lies, and betrayal emanating from the top levels of the department. But they can survive the coming conflation if they are willing to break all their own rules. There is one busted commandment, however, that could cost them everything: the unwritten law that says a co and her informant must never get romantically involved.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Former New York City police detective Leuci unleashes another torrid cop thriller that captures the gritty tension of police work and the criminal mindset without aggrandizing either. The title of Leuci's fourth novel refers to Blaze Longo, who plunders the streets of Brooklyn's Red Hook section, carrying a pouch around his neck containing ears severed from the many people he's maimed in his line of work: kidnapping for profit. On Blaze's bloody trail is police captain Nora Riter, a gifted big shot in the department who looks disarmingly like a beautiful hippie. She doesn't much like the Longo investigation, having few contacts in Red Hook's criminal underworld. Suspicious about why her boss assigned her to the case and distracted by her crumbling marriage, Riter needs help. It comes in the form of Nicky Ossman, a Red Hook native, struggling actor and petty thief who grew up with Blaze and knows how the thug, who's also a loan shark and ringleader, gained a stranglehold on the neighborhood. Together, Riter and Ossman devise an elaborate sting, one that crosses ethical as well as legal boundaries. Leuci, who in real life testified against several New York City cops in a landmark corruption trial popularized in Robert Daly's Prince of the City, moves the action along briskly, showing sentimentality toward no one. The cops are often just as bad as the criminals, while the criminals occasionally show traces of dignity and grace. Leuci (The Snitch; Fence Jumpers) falls back on the standard archetypes of the cop novelÄthe obsessively driven investigator, the squad room politics and sneaky tricks, the seemingly untouchable villainÄand plenty of law-enforcement jargon. Yet he has the flavoring right in all the ingredients and keeps the focus on the characters, who, with their edgy realness, compensate for any predictable elements of the plot. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

"Blaze is serious bad news. He makes his living scaring people to death, because death is what he can deliver." A small-time loanshark who cuts off the ears of those who offend him, Blaze is nuts enough, but not smart enough, to plan the string of lucrative kidnappings he's conducted recently. So who's pulling his strings? Ambitious and beautiful police captain Nora Riter, assigned the task of bringing Blaze down, enlists sometime-wiseguy Nicky "The Hawk" Osman as an unwilling partner: "Help or go to jail," she tells him. The chemistry between the two complicates an already explosive mix. Leuci's novels (most recently The Snitch) aren't about detection as much as crime itself. His familiarity with the dark, dangerous underworld of crime and the lowlife players in the game redeems this somewhat uneven novel. The book starts slowly, but from the midpoint on, it's a high-energy ride. Recommended for public libraries.ÄDavid Keymer, California State Univ., Stanislaus (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


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