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Police and Thieves

The N.Y.P.D.'s Joe Rizzo has a credo: "There's no wrong, there's no right, there just is."

Book Cover For 25 years Lou Manfredo was a functionary in the Brooklyn courts and it is clear the knowledge and culture he internalized there is ably and compellingly exhibited in his maiden effort as a crime novelist in Rizzo's War (Minotaur Books). Especially noteworthy is his success in making a police precinct in a lowly, working-class Italian area of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, a useful setting for a police procedural.

With no silk-stocking real estate, Manfredo skips over the brand names and designer labels many crime story scribblers are fond of brandishing and mixes some hard-scrabble street crime with exotic political misdeeds. Except for his too-frequent repetition of veteran detective Joe Rizzo's mantra, "There's no wrong, there's no right, there just is," this story is pitch perfect.

David Simon, creator of The Wire (the War and Peace of crime stories), offers his imprimatur: "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."
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