Review

Clear Blue Sky

by F. P. Lione

In
CLEAR BLUE SKY, Frank and Pam (F. P.) Lione continue the story of
New York Police Detective Tony Cavalucci in a stand-alone novel
(their first in hardcover). The talented husband and wife duo have
three previous NYPD books under their belt, and the experience
shows as they pen their best --- and grittiest --- police novel to
date.


If you missed the now (mostly) out-of-print Midtown Blue
series that chronicles the time leading up to this novel,
you’re in for a treat here. Tony is engaged to single mom
Michele and looking forward to being a full-time dad to her young
son, Stevie. With a wedding in the works, the couple has lots to
talk about --- and plenty of tension.


The chief stressor is a bachelor party that Tony’s loud and
argumentative Italian family is insisting on. Michele lets Tony
know that if the bachelor party goes as planned, she’s
calling it quits. Of course, this isn’t the real reason why
Tony’s family has mostly turned against him. They don’t
care for his hard-won sobriety (his sister Denise calls him
“Mr. Twelve Stepper”), and they’re not crazy
about the fact that he’s marrying Michele, a single mother.
They also don’t like his new-found commitment to faith.
It’s not long before the inevitable showdown occurs, and Tony
finds that he must choose between his family and his fiancée
and her son.


And what a family. Tony’s divorced mom is dating a Harley
biker. His father’s trampy second wife is pregnant, which his
father seems to find unusually upsetting --- and we discover why,
as the novel unfolds. Add a few Mafia relatives, and the sparks
(and punches) are sure to fly at any family gathering.


Underneath the tension is Tony’s insecurity about his own
worthiness. “The truth is, I felt kind of like a fraud with
Michele. Like maybe if she really knew me, she wouldn’t be so
quick to marry me…. It was like I kept waiting for the hammer
to hit me and things to crash and burn around me like they always
did.”


Joe Fiore is Tony’s wise Christian partner, and one of the
reasons why Tony has been able to stay sober and deal with his
Italian family. He’s also the reason why Tony has found a
renewed faith. But Tony has stopped going to church and
hasn’t been able to talk to Michele or Joe about why. His
conversations with Joe reflect the reality and messiness of church
life.


Tony’s life as a cop provides some of the best moments in the
book. Speed chase scenes, almost-too-strange-to-be-true incidents
(a dog that is electrocuted when it pees on open live wires on a
lamp post vandalized by the homeless for their boom boxes), the ins
and outs of a grand jury trial, and even a burglary in a geisha
house all score high on the “wow, I didn’t know stuff
like this went on” scale. Insider lingo also enlivens the
text --- one man with a bandaged head injury is said to be wearing
a “Bronx party hat.” As in the other Lione books, there
are plentiful descriptions of Italian food that will make your
mouth water. It’s a wonder Tony doesn’t weigh 300
lbs.


For those readers new to Tony’s story, F. P. Lione is an
Italian-American married couple, Frank and Pam, who are both
children of NYPD detectives. (Frank has also served with the NYPD).
Their direct experiences with the police force and love of the city
lend authenticity to the novel. The narrative isn’t without
some troubles --- lots of consecutive sentences that begin with
“We” and “I”, for example. But they pen
some killer descriptions, such as this one about Friday bingo night
at St. Michael’s: “Kind of like offtrack betting, with
old Italian women in rolled-down stockings.”


The twin towers on the cover and prologue clue in the reader that
CLEAR BLUE SKY’s story will climax in the events of September
11th. In a post 9/11 world, where it seems as if every emotional
drop has been wrung out of the fictional and nonfictional
publishable possibilities, I was skeptical that anyone could write
a moving scene six years after the fact. But the Liones handled the
tragedy well enough to give me goosebumps. It’s also a
crucial and believable way for them to literally nudge some of
their characters into a stronger belief in God.


The Liones just keep getting better in every novel. They adeptly
blend Italian life, relationship issues, fascinating stories from
the New York City streets and faith into a page-turning read that
will hook new readers while continuing to please fans of their
previous books. Don’t miss it.


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Reviewed by Cindy Crosby on November 13, 2011

Clear Blue Sky
by F. P. Lione

  • Publication Date: August 1, 2007
  • Genres: Christian
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Revell
  • ISBN-10: 0800718860
  • ISBN-13: 9780800718862