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Blue Eyes (Isaac Sidel #1)

3.65  ·  Rating Details  ·  72 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
A visceral portrayal of New York streetlife by one of America's most gifted writers
Published July 1st 2003 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published June 1st 1901)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 160)
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Lenore Webb
May 01, 2012 Lenore Webb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been reading the most unpolicitally correct book ever! And loving it. Blue Eyes by Jerome Charyn is on tour with Tribute Books and stopped by to see me. Now I am a fan of Jerome's but it is because his writing is so varied. Every time I open a new book of his I see a new writing style and that intrigues me. Blue Eyes is the first book in a series that Jerome did some years ago. We are revisiting the series since it is working hard on becoming Hard Apple, an adult animated series. With the ...more
Fabio Tassi
Jul 06, 2014 Fabio Tassi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Scrittura funambolica, ma troppo declinato sul registro grottesco e a tratti surreale per essere coinvolgente ed emozionante fino in fondo (quarta stella stirata - tendente a tre stelle nella mia classifica di gradimento). Raccomandato per appassionati dell'Autore Charyn (o del genere alla Pennac), anche se tanti squarci metropolitani rendono bene le atmosfere dei quartieri della grande mela... nulla a che vedere pero' con il Bronx ancora piu' nero e iper-realistico di Chester Himes! Incuriosisc ...more
Michael Lussier
Mar 05, 2015 Michael Lussier rated it really liked it
Jerome Charyn has written a beautiful elegy to crime and punishment in the five boroughs. Charyn isn't your typical genre writer. He tells character-driven shaggy dog stories, much like Dickens did. 1970s New York is depicted in the Isaac novels exactly as I remember it - crumbling, dangerous and incongruously multicultural; full of misdirected frustration, bitter truths and unhealthy romance.

This is a good read for anyone who enjoys Raymond Chandler and J. G. Ballard. Charyn isn't so much inte
Lenore Webb
Jul 04, 2012 Lenore Webb rated it it was amazing
I have been reading the most unpolicitally correct book ever! And loving it. Blue Eyes by Jerome Charyn is on tour with Tribute Books and stopped by to see me. Now I am a fan of Jerome's but it is because his writing is so varied. Every time I open a new book of his I see a new writing style and that intrigues me. Blue Eyes is the first book in a series that Jerome did some years ago. We are revisiting the series since it is working hard on becoming Hard Apple, an adult animated series. With the ...more
May 15, 2012 Caitlin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
If you're a fan of classic noir pulp fiction, Jerome Charyn's Blue Eyes would be a great place to indulge your interest. The first book in a series of four, Blue Eyes has a lot in common with other great pulp fiction published in the early seventies, although the author reminds me most of Ross MacDonald (if MacDonald was writing about New York).

The main character, Manfred Coen, is a detective caught up in a feud between his mentor Isaac Sidel and a group of pickpockets. The story takes us on a j
May 06, 2012 Literary rated it really liked it

I had to take a picture of the cover of the copy I received from Tribute Books because I could not find a picture of this cover anywhere online. Of all the covers for Blue Eyes, I like this one the best. I think it is the best representation of this novel that there is.

Blue Eyes refers to one of the main characters of this novel, Manfred Coen.

Plot/Main Characters

Manfred Coen is a cop whose mentor has fallen from grace. He gets transferred from borough to borough depending on where he'
Tia Bach
May 23, 2012 Tia Bach rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Blue Eyes reads like a gritty exposé of New York City in the 1970s. Corruption, greed, family ties, and questionable loyalties abound. Manfred Coen is loyal to his mentor, Isaac Sidel, and weakened by the town whore, Odile. But where others' loyalties lie is constantly evolving.

Coen, through a series of twist and turns and changing family allegiances, is thrust into the dirty world of ping-pong hustling and human trafficking. Young girls are being sold, but even that storyline isn't as black and
Sep 04, 2012 Sandie rated it liked it
Detective Manfred Coen is a product of the streets. Raised in the '40's in New York City in the Bronx, he grows up with Jewish gangsters, con men, policemen and politicians. Most guys gravitated either to the police or the gangs, and Coen ends up in the police. He is the protege of Captain Issac Sidel and is disliked by the rank and file both for his mentor and for his blond hair, blue-eyed Hollywood handsome good looks.

But times change. Sidel is now out of the force, disgraced in a bribery scan
May 16, 2012 Carol rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, for-review
Like most vintage mysteries, there’s some racism and sexism that needs overlooked, and some jargon I was unfamiliar with. But the characters were amazing. They were all nuts, from the Chinaman who wore a red wig and couldn’t work in Chinatown to Coen’s Spanish stoolie who he actually seemed to have a good relationship with. There’s a young porn star/prostitute, who in her real life prefers the company of women, but of course falls for Coen none the less. There’s the old man who runs numbers, and ...more
May 29, 2012 Kari rated it it was ok
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
I'm going to be honest from the start, I didn't finish this book. I am pretty open minded when it comes to books. Since I have been blogging reviews, I have expanded my reading horizons significantly. The synopsis for Blue Eyes looked very interesting, so I thought I would give it a shot. About 3 chapters in, I was so confused that I was struggling to keep up my interest in the book. I found myself searching the internet to read more about the synopsis to figure out what was going on. This is ne ...more
May 04, 2012 Bookworm rated it liked it
Blue Eyes is part of a series of pulp mystery classics revolving around Detective Manfred Coen. This story takes place in NYC's seedy underbelly in the 1970's. I felt like the story was definitely dated and some of the jargon was none I'd ever heard of. On the one hand, I liked the vintage setting, on the other hand, due to the racial slurs, not so much. This almost reminded me of the film Pulp Fiction.
The cast of characters was interesting and the suspense was good as well. There's a no good pi
Wendy Hines
Jul 07, 2013 Wendy Hines rated it liked it
This is the first Jerome Charyn novel I have had the pleasure to read. I don't know why I've never heard of him before - his writing is phenomenal. From page one, I was pulled into his world of crime and multi-faceted characters. Sidel and Coen aren't your average detectives and it is that uniqueness that makes them shine. From the shady corners of the seventies in New York comes a pulp fiction sort of novel that will leave you waiting for the next installment. Blue Eyes was originally published ...more
Oct 31, 2014 Nigel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Extraordinary and strange tale of a blue-eyed Jewish New York detective, abandoned by his mentor, Isaac Sidel, tossed from department to department, loathed as a spy by his fellow cops, he is thrust into the dealings of the Guzmann family from his old Bronx neighbourhood to shut down the delivery of young girls to Mexico. Surrounded by enemies, Coen is tough but vulnerable, and only has time for ping-pong. Told in lovely, lyrical prose that packs more info and character and sights and sounds in ...more
Otto Penzler
Apr 09, 2012 Otto Penzler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even if you don't generally read mysteries, author Jerome Charyn may be the author to change your mind. Probably best known for such historical fiction as The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson, he has created a unique mystery series, beginning with Blue Eyes, about Isaac Sidel, the complicated detective whose bad decisions set off a chain reaction for blue - eyed cadet Manfred Coen. A surprise twist catches you off guard and keeps the prose exciting as Coen is pushed into the investigation of a hum ...more
Dec 09, 2012 Shawn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this book. A Jewish detective in New York? Right in my wheelhouse. And there were many interesting aspects of it: the
Marrano elements in particular. But overall, I didn't like it. The language was hard to penetrate: trying too hard to capture the lingo and slang of the underworld and police. I need a character to root for in a novel, someone to believe in or respect. But these characters were either weird, unsympathetic, evil, or uninteresting. The storytelling itself ju
Jul 23, 2011 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Debbie by: Michael
I had read a later book in the series, which I liked well enough that I decided to start from the beginning. Charyn has a unique style that I really enjoy, and find myself re-reading sentences just because I like the images he's created, or the odd mix of words. The story is interesting in a surreal way, which I'm beginning to see is a trademark, and it certainly goes places I wouldn't have expected if I hadn't already read the later book. If you're a hard-boiled procedural fan who enjoys wordpl ...more
Paula Ratcliffe
This book was written in 1977, while reading that much was evident in the story. We meet Manfred Coen who sets out to find out who kidnapped the daughter of a porn director. This book while very good, I found myself having to look up some things as I wasn’t around in the early 70′s and didn’t know certain things, like Orange O’s. This book would be great for mystery buffs who love reading about New York in the 70′s, and about the Police in that time frame. Full of adventure, and tons of mystery! ...more
Διαβάζοντάς αυτό το βιβλίο μετά το τελευταίο της τετραλογίας μπορώ να δω πολλές διαφορές στη γραφή του Charyn. Το βιβλίο είναι άναρχο και απρόσμενο. Όχι στη γραφή αλλά στα συναισθήματα και τις συμπεριφορές των προσώπων του. Και πάλι σε μαγνητίζει, μην μπορώντας βέβαια πολλές φορές να καταλάβεις τη ψυχοσύνθεσή τους, όσο και αν προσπαθήσεις.
Star (The Bibliophilic Book Blog)
Blue Eyes is an extra hard-boiled tale of a disgraced detective and his protégé. Coen, the young cadet, is pulled into a human slavery/trafficking investigation by Isaac Sidel. Sidel and Coen live in a world filled with crime, unsavory characters, and wicked twists of fate. Mr. Charyn keeps you guessing via rich descriptions and gritty language. The first in a series about Detective Isaac Sidel, Blue Eyes is a wild ride through the darkest of noir.
Paul Boger
Jul 03, 2013 Paul Boger rated it liked it
A very literary crime novel, as if Chester Himes had written "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold." While the plot is loose, at best, and lacking any real tension, themes of family and tribe mingle with scenes of tabloid NYC. This is the first of a quartet featuring Issac Sidel and Manfred Coen, but I don't know if I'll read the others. An interesting experiment, but certainly not a page-turner.
Jan 31, 2016 Will rated it it was ok
Received this book as a gift and enjoyed it. The dialog was a little difficult to follow because of the New York City Jewish characters but at the same time it portrayed a different culture than I am familiar with.
Jul 13, 2011 Jussi rated it liked it
Shelves: reread
A reread. Curious voice, bleak tone, no women except caricatures, smell and taste only used to disgust, narration & storyline entirely relegated to background. very strange - cannot make up my mind about this.
Bridget Weller
Nov 14, 2010 Bridget Weller rated it it was ok
Shelves: crime
Some patches of really nice prose, but the relentless misogyny is tedious.
Misty Rayburn
May 15, 2012 Misty Rayburn rated it really liked it
Review coming soon.
Andrew Vickers
Andrew Vickers marked it as to-read
Feb 10, 2016
Amy Taylor
Amy Taylor marked it as to-read
Feb 09, 2016
Leo marked it as to-read
Feb 06, 2016
FeltRaza marked it as to-read
Feb 02, 2016
Jan marked it as to-read
Jan 27, 2016
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Jerome Charyn was born and raised on the mean streets of the Bronx. He graduated cum laude from Columbia College. He has taught at Princeton, Columbia, Stanford, Rice, was Distinguished Visiting Professor at the City University of New York and is currently Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the American University of Paris. Charyn is a Guggenheim Fellow and has twice won fellowships from the Nati ...more
More about Jerome Charyn...

Other Books in the Series

Isaac Sidel (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Marilyn the Wild (Isaac Quartet, #2)
  • The Education of Patrick Silver (Isaac Quartet, #3)
  • Secret Isaac (Isaac Quartet, #4)
  • The Good Policeman
  • Maria's Girls (Isaac Sidel, #6)
  • Montezuma's Man
  • Little Angel Street: An Isaac Sidel Novel
  • El Bronx
  • Citizen Sidel
  • Under the Eye of God: An Isaac Sidel Novel

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