Richard Belzer sent us a copy of his new book, I Am Not A Cop!, and we actually like it.
This one isn’t about JFK, UFOs or any of the other conspiracies that Belzer has written about before.
This time, the Belz has created what he calls a “reality novel,” meaning that it’s a mashup of himself, the character he plays on TV, and a fantasy of himself as an ass-kicking kung fu master who disarms Russian mafia goons with his bare hands and can heal a bullet wound with nothing but his SAG card.
Well, that’s Belzer, never one to misunderestimate himself.
Actually, we loves us the Belz, for his long stand-up career, his disturbing and wonderful cameo in Scarface and the 423 television series that have featured his wise-cracking police detective character, John Munch.
All that time around fake crime scenes, apparently, has motivated Belzer to try his own hand at writing a mystery. In I Am Not a Cop!, his “Richard Belzer” character walks off a TV set and right into a missing-person’s case featuring Brighton Beach Russians, the diamond trade, and smoldering KGB-Ukrainian animosity.
Along the way he invents a sexy sidekick, another dame who needs his help, and plenty of other stock noir characters – including, of course, insufferable beat reporters and fat-slob private dicks.
The plot is also a bit standard issue, but that’s not what carries this story along – it’s Belzer being Belzer, having fun with book and movie cliches, showing off what he knows about New York, and providing a glimpse of what it’s like to walk around town with everyone knowing – if only vaguely – who you are.
Belzer and his co-writer, Michael Black, a retired Chicago cop, are already planning a follow-up, and the Belz tells the Voice he’s also shopping around the idea of a feature film.
In which, we assume, Belzer would play himself playing himself playing Munch. Nice trick!