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Rizzo's Fire    by Lou Manfredo order for
Rizzo's Fire
by Lou Manfredo
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2012 (2011)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Rizzo's Fire follows Rizzo's War as the second in a police procedural series by Lou Manfredo that reminds me of Ed McBain's marvelous 87th Precinct novels. These star jaded Brooklyn Detective Sergeant Joe Rizzo, who's nearing retirement, but is not quite ready for it yet - he still knows how to call in favors and work the system.

Rizzo, who alternates between smoking cigarettes and chewing Nicorettes, has a new junior partner, lesbian African-American Priscilla 'Cil' Jackson, a good friend of his previous partner, Mike McQueen (promoted after their last case and now working at One Police Plaza). As Rizzo and Cil banter back and forth, he sneaks in sage advice about life, the job and everything in between. Manfredo lets readers get to know these officers as they solve routine cases, while sharing personal worries - Rizzo's upset that his youngest daughter is intent on becoming a policewoman and Priscilla resents financial help from her partner's wealthy parents.

Rizzo is also concerned about the aftermath of his previous case. Though he had exploited 'closeted skeletons' to his own advantage - via 'phantom overtime' to help put his daughters through college - and that of both Mike and Cil, a tape in his basement would be extremely damaging to the plans of Brooklyn political powerhouse, City Councilman William Daily. He and Mike had decided to hold the tape for six months but now Rizzo wants to extend that time, though his conscience troubles him. They also seek cover for when they do release the tape - Daily has powerful friends.

Rizzo and Cil are assigned a murder investigation that's deemed low priority compared to the recent high profile death of a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright. But if ex-shoe clerk Robert Lauria was strangled by a junkie in an interrupted robbery, why was an expensive watch left in plain sight? When Rizzo and Cil find a link between the two cases, they keep it to themselves. Rizzo pulls in all the favors he can to quietly work the investigation - if they're caught they'll be in deep trouble, but if not, Rizzo hopes the ensuing glory will leave them untouchable and able to deal with Daily.

If you enjoy a solid procedural with very real characters (especially veteran detective Rizzo) then you won't go wrong with this series. I'm curious to see where the author takes it next as Rizzo's youngest daughter Carol (a chip off the old block) launches her own policing career.

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