Bishop’s War isn’t just a great read, it’s a journey into the center of a world you never knew existed. The world created by Rafael Hines is so vivid you can hear it, smell it, and be horrified by it. Mostly set in the Manhattan’s East Village, ranging from the 1970s to present day, the characters, situations and steamrolling plot are masterfully crafted, and the details will leave you wondering how the author was able to get it all down on paper. The man at the center of it all, juvenile delinquent turned local legend war hero John Bishop, is a tapestry of loyalty, love, heroism, pride and intelligence. Bishop is also a complicated character, with flaws as real as the violence that tore a hole through his life. After reading Bishop’s War, it changes the way you look at Rafael Hines’ lifelong home, Manhattan’s Lower East Side, which he describes like one discusses an old friend. Be warned; you will never walk through Union Square again without looking over your shoulder. You may never get in a cab without wondering how many things are going on out there that you don’t know about, and never will, except if you read this entertaining, aggressive, frightening and triumphant novel.
Tade Reen, Author of Glad Tidings
Bishop’s War is not an old lady’s cozy mystery. I liked this military thriller, and enjoyed the large cast of characters. Some of the players are active young men, who are drinkers and ribald at times. I appreciated the details in the book; we learn about military weapons and tactics. Bishop’s War is an exciting story. Men fight wars, but the most dangerous enemy is the one within their hearts and minds.
Jena C. Henry, Author of The Golden Age of Charli Series
Bishop’s War is a great suspense-thriller, definitely a page turner that reminded me of some of my favorite books by guys like Baldacci, Grisham, Patterson and Connelly. The subject matter combines elements of the classic war hero comes home story, mixed in with terrorist activity on American soil, government corruption, and the involvement of a powerful organized crime family – really very timely subject matter with everything going on in the world today! I really loved how it all came together, and every step along the way I found myself rooting for the protagonist John Bishop and his colorful mix of buddies and family members. Likewise, there’s some terrible bad guys in the book and they really are quite despicable! There’s really some great character development, complimented with a lot of sharp and funny dialogue and interactions amongst the major players. Another aspect of the book that I really appreciated was the detailed descriptions of the various settings where everything takes place. Most of the action is in New York City…and specifically on the Lower East Side (or the LES, as it’s affectionately called). You can definitely tell this is the place the author was born and raised, and he pays great homage to the neighborhood with vivid descriptions of its past and present and how it’s changed over the years to become the thriving borough that it is now. You can almost imagine what it would be like to hang out in the LES on a beautiful summer day, and if you did you could probably expect to run into some guys that reminded you of John Bishop, his cousin Felix, and a huge guy named Bunny.
From the moment you begin reading Bishop’s War you are transfixed and riveted into the story plot and anticipation of what is yet to come. I couldn’t put the book down. I was swept away and captivated by the main character John Bishop. It’s full of action, suspense and funny at the right moments. I laughed, I cried and didn’t want it to end. I can’t wait for the next Bishop novel!
As backdrop for his enthralling thriller, Rafael Hines really nails the uniquely frenetic, intense “street-level” energy and pulse of life on the Lower East Side. Speaking as a native New Yorker, I had as much fun laughing at the dialogue of the richly relatable and warped, true-to-life characters as I did following their frightening story of peril and terror. Hard to believe Bishop’s War is Rafael’s first novel.