Saturday, May 20, 2006
F.P. Lione's, SKELLS ~ Reviewed
Reviewed by Erin Valentine
Tony Cavalucci, one of New York's finest, has eleven years experience as a police officer dealing with the Big Apple's skells, those lost souls that make up the city's homeless and criminal population. As a cop, Tony deals with the skells, rookie officers, an arrogant inspector, and a society that sometimes seems intent on punishing the men and women in law enforcement for simply doing their jobs. As a new Christian, he grapples with his jaded co-workers, his own sobriety, a resentful family, and a commitment to chastity until he and his fiancée Michele are married. It can be tough being a Godly man in contemporary society, and perhaps doubly so for someone who is surrounded daily by the worst a city has to offer.
This novel, the third in Lione's Midtown Blue series, is rich in gritty details. The reader is allowed the opportunity to travel along with Tony as he completes his rounds with partner Joe Fiore. A typical night might involve a domestic dispute, a rape victim, or a mace-wielding robber. These conflicts, however, are only a tad more frightening than Grandmother Cavalucci and the engagement party she insists on throwing for Tony and Michele. In addition to the glimpse the reader is offered into the workings of a big-city police department, the novel delivers an unflinching, multi-faceted look at Italian-American family life.
There's no one overriding conflict in this novel. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, someone to die, a criminal to challenge Tony in a contest of wits, but to no avail. Rather, Skells is about one man and the way in which his own perceptions have changed as a result of his re-birth. Joe guides Tony with pertinent scripture passages as Tony struggles with old prejudices and habits, and the enjoyment of the book comes from a willingness to follow along with this young man as he accepts his new understanding of just what it means to accept a faithful God who washes us clean with His grace.