Cover image for Maria's girls
Maria's girls
Charyn, Jerome.
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Publication Information:
New York : Mysterious Press, [1992]

Physical Description:
281 pages ; 22 cm
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Police Commissioner Isaac Sidel is out to rid the New York City school system of the insidious influences of two flamboyant and sinister bureaucrats who starve the children for books and drain lunch money into their own pockets. Ties into the Fox TV series The Good Policeman, based on the Isaac Sidel novels.

Author Notes

Jerome Charyn was born in the Bronx, New York, in 1937. An author who primarily writes detective stories, Charyn's novels contain a wide array of characters ranging form a gorgeous, headstrong double agent to a greedy, corrupt lawyer. Charyn chronicles the life of Isaac Sidel El Caballo, the Mayor of New York City, in over half a dozen books, including El Bronx, Little Angel Street, Marilyn the Wild, and The Good Policeman. Among his latest novels is The Secret Life of emily Dickinson. The story is told from her point of view and incorporates both historical and fictional characters to tell what she may have been like. His next work was entitled Under the Eye of God.

Widely translated, Charyn's novels have broad readership in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece and Japan, as well as the United States. Charyn lives in Paris where he teaches cinema at the American University of Paris.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Charyn once again abandons real life for a narrative that frequently doesn't make literal sense but puts the world of big crime under a microscope so intense it explodes with higher truth. Cop Caroll Brent is pulled from his beloved Central Park precinct and told by Commish Isaac Sidel to keep an eye on a guy named Montalban, who is systematically plundering the school system for money and supplies. Brent hates the gig, which leaves him vulnerable and takes him away from his socialite wife, whom Sidel is also using to get close to Montalban. At the same time, Brent owes money to a shylock with ties to a New Orleans hood whom Sidel tried and failed to whack some time ago. Sidel--who also gets some lead pumped into his chest--daydreams over his FBI informer and lover, tries (unsuccessfully) not to leave Brent and his wife overexposed, and in the middle of all this attempts to bring his baseball team into competition with Cardinal Jim's boys. Halfway through the tale Brent falls by the wayside, drinking like a slob in a cheap hotel, and Sidel, himself weak and hopelessly addicted to lime Jello, takes the reader for an ego trip of truly savage proportions. Weird and wonderful. Jerome Charyn is a rare talent. ~--Peter Robertson

Publisher's Weekly Review

Seasoned mystery writer Charyn ( The Good Policeman ) unleashes another Dantesque vision of the hell that is contemporary New York City. Police Commissioner Isaac Sidel plans to fight corruption in the city's public schools with the help of his new right-hand man, Carollsp ok Brent. But Brent, although married to ``the second-richest woman in New York,'' is in debt to the mob and falls into the hands of Sidel's longtime nemesis, Sal Rubino. Brent's vigorish gets paid off, but Sidel is gunned down. While the ``Commish'' recovers with the help of lime jello, dreams of baseball and visits from his old friend Margaret Tolstoy, events in his department come to a boil. Brent's wife is drawn into the web of mob-connected Carlos Maria Montalban, flashy and venal superintendent of the Lower East Side school district. Soon the close links between the city's archdiocese, government, high society, police force and crime organizations are exposed, and a shootout between mob families at a Central Park baseball game leaves few survivors. Charyn's newest dark and frenetic tale sings with the lingo of the streets, his trademark rapid-fire dialogue and surprise relationships. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved