Sunday, November 24, 2013

Rizzo by Don Lewis

I confess that I am unable to resist a mystery that seizes me and holds me in its grasp. That is exactly how I felt about Rizzo.

One cannot help but sympathize with Nathan Rizzo. Here he is--a Pittsburgh Police Detective, retired after 32 years, a widower still mourning the loss of his wife, and he decides to accept a position as Police Chief in the small Pennsylvania town of Braden. With minimal crime in this new location, life will be quiet and peaceful, and he should have just enough to do to keep his mind occupied and give this 15 officer police department and rural population the benefit of his experience and leadership.

The apple pie doesn’t always bake to our satisfaction, however.  Sometimes the crust collapses, and that is precisely what seems to be happening to Rizzo. As he navigates the precarious politics present even in a small town setting, five months after his arrival the unthinkable is happening. A series of grizzly murders occurs, and Rizzo is left to untangle the web of secrecy and mystery surrounding them. The challenges that present themselves are magnified by deficient access to the sophisticated, big city resources and support to which Rizzo is accustomed.

This book has everything--the obvious anticipation inherent in digesting the details of multiple whodunits, danger, a hint of romance, organized crime connection, small town characters and cigars. Rizzo relishes his rooftop reflections with a favorite cigar in hand.

Upon reading the final chapter, I returned to the beginning to once again consume clues that I may have overlooked during the initial read. Don Lewis, with his legal background and expertise, excels at crafting an intense legal thriller.

I can’t imagine that anyone would be disappointed in this book. Be aware that there is a smattering of strong language and some graphic descriptions of murder scenes, though neither are as gross as they potentially might have been. For that, I was exceedingly grateful. Some language and visuals are merely typical of a particular setting, subject matter, occupation or lifestyle. And although I personally don’t care for foul language, I am well aware that thugs and criminals wouldn’t ordinarily converse in sugar-coated, angelic phrases. To his tremendous credit, Lewis minimizes its use.

To escape into the world of an intriguing saga, Rizzo is an ideal selection!

 Book Description

Nathan Rizzo, a retired Pittsburgh Homicide Detective, recently widowed, needs something to get his life started again. He finds it in an offer to become the chief of police in a small town in North Central Pennsylvania.

Expecting the job to be essentially stress-free, Rizzo and the small town of Braden are suddenly confronted with a number of brutal murders, all seemingly committed by the same person, yet without clues to connect the victims, and no evidence pointing to a suspect.

The investigation leads Rizzo to the ten year old unsolved murder of a police officer in Twin Falls, Idaho. The key to solving the murders in Braden may have to be found in Idaho.

A number of suspects begin to surface, none but one of whom would seem to have a sufficient motive for the extreme barbarism exercised in the Braden murders, and that person died in an auto accident years earlier.

As Rizzo winds his way through the maze that blocks the identity of the killer, outside entities, including organized crime figures, influence and hinder the investigation.

Working his way through a trail of blood, brutality, and old buried psychological scars, Rizzo’s experience and focus are severely tested, and leave him wondering if he should return to the calmer, less taxing job of a Pittsburgh Homicide Detective.

 Insight from Don Lewis

Detective Nathan Rizzo, retired homicide detective and recently widowed, finds himself and his life, lacking a purpose. Seeing this happening, his old friends and fellow detectives at the Pittsburgh Police Homicide Squad, set him up with a job as the chief of police in a small town in North Central Pennsylvania. Hoping and expecting that the slow pace and lack of serious crime would allow him to keep busy in a stress-free environment, he accepts the job.

As it turns out, the most stressful case he had ever handled, a series of brutal killings, lands in his lap in small town America. How he deals with this situation and brings his experience to bear in a situation where he is basically lacking the support network he had been used to, provides an insight into the life of Chief Rizzo.

As a career prosecutor and criminal trial attorney, I have known many police detectives and have seen them work. I also know several big city cops who took their act to the country and have watched them deal with this strange and totally different environment. Thinking it would make for an interesting story, I have followed the fictional Nathan Rizzo to such a town and have tried to see into how such a man would react in the story line I have created in Rizzo.
Don Lewis

About Author Don Lewis

As a trial lawyer in hundreds of criminal jury trials, including more than 60 murder cases, Mr. Lewis is uniquely qualified to author crime novels like Rizzo. During those years he has had exposure to all types of witnesses and evidence.

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Mr. Lewis, a former paratrooper and Vietnam Veteran, completed his undergraduate work at Waynesburg College in Pennsylvania, and in 1970 received his law degree from Duquesne University Law School in Pittsburgh.

In 2002 Mr. Lewis retired from the practice of law to devote more time to his writing. In addition to Rizzo, he has authored three other crime novels: Satan’s Boots Don’t Creak, Dark Covenant, and Kalup’s Crossroads.

You may learn more about the author and his books and read sample chapters of each at Mr. Lewis’ website:


Stop by again in two weeks for another post about a "must read."

Happy Thanksgiving 2013 to all,
Mary Anne Benedetto

Author of Eyelash, 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!, Never Say Perfect, From Italy with Love & Limoncello and Write Your Pet's Life Story in 7 Easy Steps!

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