Review: The Good Rat, by Jimmy Breslin
Jimmy Breslin was, perhaps, the ultimate New York City true crime writer. <i>The Good Rat</i> shows all the reasons why, too. Meticulously researched, told brilliantly, with subjects you can almost feel living and breathing, a superb ear for dialog, and an almost Runyonesque tone. Breslin is a master at holding your attention. I will admit, that being said, that it didn’t hurt that a lot of this book takes place in neighborhoods I grew up in or next to, so I had no problems visualizing the locales he noted, which always adds to a book for me. Further, more than just the story of the rat in question, <i>The Good Rat</i> is a study of how two New York City cops go from heroes to bad guys. It’s especially fascinating since one of them grew up in a family “in the life” and claimed he became a cop to counteract some of what his father had done. True crime aficionados will definitely appreciate this book. So will readers who like books that look at what happens beyond the surface of a neighborhood. Brooklyn, Queens, or other NYC natives will recognize much of the area and enjoy that, as well.