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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
From the Navy SEALS to the San Francisco Police Department to collecting Academy Award ballots, Ray DeLuca experiences a lot in Central Station: A Ray DeLuca Novel by Joseph Cariffe. We meet Ray after his SEAL days are behind him and he is an officer on probation with SFPD working out of Central Station. Ray's father is serving time in prison on the East Coast for his role in the Sicilian mafia's chain of command, a connection Ray has trouble shaking off. The long fingers of Cosa Nostra stretch to San Francisco and they clash with the Chinese gang of San Francisco, the Ghost Boys. In a complicated twist, a Ghost Boy is killed and the blame is pushed onto Ray, costing him his job and potentially his life when he becomes a hit target.
Community is a solid theme in Central Station by Joseph Cariffe, and Ray DeLuca's unbreakable love of his heritage and his father play a central role in this aptly named novel. As a reader, I was asked to contemplate the impossibility of completely removing oneself from a barrel with a number of bad apples when everything you are as a person springs from mostly the good ones. Ray has an honest and satirical view of his place in the world that makes him easy to like and connect with. He's imperfect and even as an attractive, muscled alpha male with a badge who can cook, he still gets ghosted by beautiful women. The plot has a network of subplots that take readers from the East and West coasts and onto Europe without slowing down the stride, and the writing puts it among one of the best cop reads I've torn through this year.