Protect & Serve Book Reviews
Protect and Serve by Anthony F. Raimondo, PH.D
Book review by Dylan Ward of The US Review of Books Five Stars
"They began to pray that something would take place very soon so that they could change their lives for good."
Author Raimondo returns with an intriguing second novel based on two Bible verses, Matthew 25:40 and 25:45, weaving together a surprisingly uplifting tale of spirituality exploring the ramifications of crime and punishment. The Lord walks among the city streets disguised as a “Homeless Man,” wearing white shoes emblemed with blood-red crosses on their sides. He keeps a close watch on two Italian detective cousins, fresh from a big win in a major case but inexplicably nicknamed with “infamous monikers”—Alfonzo Hitali (Hitler) and Mose Dalini (Mussolini). The detectives patrol while engaging in deep debate as they protect and serve their city. One night, after meeting two prostitutes, the four encounter the Homeless Man. It is a life-changing moment that develops unexpected relationships and positive futures.
Meanwhile, recent crimes against children anger Al and Mose’s mafia uncle, Chich the Key. As the detectives become embroiled in a major new case, their uncle enacts a plan of revenge against the potential perpetrators. As Raimondo steadily builds the tension, Al and Mose find themselves walking a fine line between loyalty to their careers amid their uncle’s nefarious dealings and embracing new loves.
Though plot-heavy and action-driven, Raimondo's book is a convincing, atmospheric detective mystery with fleshed-out characters who discover more about themselves and their beliefs when thrust into difficult situations. Clearly, the author’s faith factors into this tale full of drama and romance, especially with the fascinating and thought-provoking debates of good and evil between Al and Mose. As Raimondo states in his acknowledgment, this second book of the Least of Brothers series is just “part of an ongoing saga,” so readers and fans certainly have something to look forward to with the next stimulating book in this growing series.
Book Review by Rae Capri of Pacific Book Review 5 Stars
Faith and belief in God is a personal experience where one must seek out a relationship with their creator to develop a strong bond. Many do not understand the level of importance in this matter due to various reasons involving how they were raised and the traumatic pain encountered in their lives. Despite the setbacks and negative experiences, with the appreciation for life comes the ability to view life from all angles.
In Protect and Serve, author Anthony F. Raimondo, Ph.D. introduces his readers to cousins Alfonzo Hitali and Mose Dalini, two respected homicide detectives. Mose has a stronger faith in God than Al, though he continues regaining his cousin's beliefs, from reciting scriptures, listening to pastors giving the word on the radio, or creating scenarios for Al to figure out. In the eyes of Al, after joining the police force and becoming a detective, his faith hangs in the balance because of the cases they solve daily. It does not sit well with his spirit that there are any good people left since the majority of the world's population is wicked. Growing up, these two have always participated in religious activities, including attending mass. Now that they are older, some days their faith is tested, especially in the occupational field they are in. Both Mose and Al give a whole new meaning to Protect and Serve, as they above and beyond to ensure the safety of their community. As a reader, you gain a bit more of their personalities and begin to notice they are great detectives and even better people fighting the good fight.
On one of their rounds, they meet two women who consider themselves "high-end escorts," named Tyis and Sage. The detectives invite the women for breakfast per the women's suggestion. At that moment, you realize these detectives had an idea of what kind of women they were if judged by their style of clothes. But, to have company during breakfast was something they could cherish more. Surprisingly enough, the four of them had an amazing late breakfast spread and shared laughs. Usually, anyone would assume that would be a one-off opportunity, but something about these women made these detectives consider them as friends and women to protect. Humanity lives within those who have God and love in their hearts for their lesser brother. People fall on hard times but that doesn't mean their value is of lesser quality.
A popular homeless man seems to be a major character in this book, intervening in situations without action, but his voice communicates within the minds of others. A "small voice" if you will call it that, is like something to consider listening to, which depending on what's said can be a great thing. Mose and Al have experienced this special communication with this homeless man, leading them to believe he is a special person. Tyis and Sage have their experiences with the same homeless man and viewed him as someone radiating love and kindness. Something that stood out to me about this homeless man is even though he wore dirty clothes, he only smelled foul to a select few, and smelled like sweet candy to others. Reading this led me to think, that the people who know and accept Jesus into their lives live delightful experiences because they see everyone as their brother and sister.
This book encourages people to seek out their purpose in life, develop a relationship with God, and always help out someone less fortunate than themselves. In doing so, you are helping another child of God or someone who could very well be Jesus in disguise. The message behind this book lightens that spark within people that probably lie dormant to have a stronghold on your faith. No one ever knows how their actions affect others, but if done in the name of love, it would be worth giving and sharing.
My reading experience with this book has been inspirational and uplifting because no matter what you do or who you are, God is always nearby. The characters whose faith was tested had only pushed them into the right places at the right times. A favorite was the young boy, Tommy McGrath, the son of Detective Kevin McGrath, and his encounter with the homeless man. Although he was suffering from a terminal illness, he was wise beyond his 8-years of life. I was so happy that he had the chance to sit in the park with the homeless man, as I believe the boy knew who he was. The genuine energy shared and exchanged between them made everything worth reading. This left no question that healing by His touch is mighty powerful and the young boy deserved another chance at life. I highly recommend this book to anyone, it is such a beautiful story, which has elements that could relate to others.