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NORA'S REVIEW - CLEAR BLUE SKY


CLEAR BLUE SKY
By F.P. Lione
Published by Revell
ISBN# 978-0-8007-1886-2

From the Back Cover

I drove up 33rd Street and made a left onto 5th. I drove two blocks south and parked outside the bagel store, smelling the bagels before we got in the door. Are the everythings hot? I asked the guy behind the counter. They just came out ten minutes ago. Great, I said. Give me an everything with butter and a regular coffee. Joe was getting an egg sandwich, so I went outside with my coffee. I pulled back the plastic tab on the Styrofoam cup to blow on the coffee. Something caught the corner of my eye, and I looked straight down 5th Avenue and saw smoke coming from one of the towers of the World Trade Center.

Review:

Clear Blue Sky is a glimpse into a day in the life of street cops starting on September 2nd leading up to the events of September 11, 2001.

“Greater Love has no man than this that he lay down his life for his friends.” This is what firefighters, policeman and other rescue works gave on that fateful day. The main character Tony Cavalucci is a macho Italian who has been a patrol policeman in New York for the past 11 years. Tony’s father had 22 years on the force before that. Tony’s precinct is Midtown, Manhattan, in a brick building off 9th Avenue. His partners name is Joe, another macho Italian man who is a born again Christian.

Anyone remember the TV show NYPD BLUE? That show was kind of a day in the life of real policeman on the job and off in their personal lives. September 2nd Tony & Joe volunteer to get some overtime on Labor Day patrolling for a parade heading downtown. The events are similar to the ones I remember NYPD BLUE show to be.

Tony Cavalucci is a new Christian and his Italian family is not so happy about his decision to follow Jesus. Tony is engaged and his brother Vinny wants to give him a bachelor party that will include lots of drinking and prostitutes. Tony and his bride to be don’t want any part of this party. Vinny and the rest of the family think that there is something wrong with Tony when he doesn’t embrace the bachelor party with open arms. His family and brother think he’s no fun anymore. He doesn’t want to drink with them, and he doesn’t want to have bachelor parties. What’s up? The family thinks it must be his fiancĂ© Michelle. Tony’s family hopes he hasn’t taken this Jesus stuff serious. They think Tony will come around to his old ways soon it will just take a little manipulating by the family to control the situation.

Tony struggles to honor his family and follow Jesus. On an early morning fishing trip with family and a few friends Tony explains why it’s ok sometimes to miss church. “If you are only going to church because you’re afraid God’s gonna punch you, you’re going for the wrong reasons anyway. I don’t like to miss church and I don’t do it very often. But the Lord likes fishing, and He’ll be there with us!” I like how he said that.

Tony says to himself “I took Joes’ advice (about praying) but I found I couldn’t focus trying to pray, drive and keep my eye on the cab at the same time. Joe seemed to be fine with it, so I left the praying to him.”

I get a kick out of Tony sharing his struggle as he says “Honestly – Okay – I didn't’ say crap, I said the “S” word and was feeling guilty about it. Then I thought about what Joe says, that God forgives me if I ask Him to, and I felt confused that I cursed and now I expected God to forgive me when I did something wrong. ; Then I got aggravated that I had all this crap in my head when I was trying to cuff this guy and was glad when Rooney jumped out of the car and ran over to help me.” It’s funny and gut honest. I can see this macho Italian man doing this on the streets of New York.

As I read about Tony and Joe and their lives as policemen I kept wondering when September 11 events would happen as I turn the next page. These patrol men are not search and rescue personnel. They are street policemen walking their beat when tragedy strikes. No one was quite sure of what happened when the first plane hit (like the rest of us). I’m sure everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing on that day when that first tower got hit. The first mission for the patrol cops was to keep some kind of order on the streets by keeping the traffic and people moving away from the towers. No one was sure of what would happen next. They wanted everyone out of the city and out of danger.

I know that I could not fully grasp what was happening on the streets of New York after that first plane went into the building and then the second when I watched the video clip on TV over and over that day. F.P. Lione interviewed policemen that actually lived thru this. They describe what happened through not only what they saw, but what they heard, smelled, touched and felt physically and emotionally. It was really enlightening to read the description.

TONY Cavalucci actually starts to pray for each person that jumped from the building. He says “I remembered what Joe said about going ino God’s thrown room, and I asked God if I could come in and talk to him. I felt inside he told me yes, to come in and pray for these people.”

I liked how this book showed Tony and Joe’s faith in action on the streets of New York; it’s funny, sincere and edgy. It is a heavy subject that the authors handled really well. I know this book will be hard for some to read (because of the subject matter) but I really recommend it.

Nora St. Laurent
Book Club Servant Leader

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