Book Review

ABSENT FRIENDS
by S.J. Rozan

Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Mystery, Traditional

RT Rating

Rozan's stand-alone novel, set
in post-9/11 New York, centers on
firefighter Jimmy McCaffery, who's deemed a hero when he loses his
life on 9/11. Jimmy's friends are
devastated and establish a memorial fund in his honor.

Several weeks later, Harry Randall,
a washed-up reporter, writes a series of articles questioning Jimmy's fitness to
be called a hero. He claims that Jimmy had ties to organized crime, but before Randall can reveal all, he supposedly commits suicide.

Laura Stone, a rising young reporter who was Randall's coworker and
lover, can't believe that Harry would
kill himself when he was onto a major story. She's convinced it was murder and continues to investigate this
spreading scandal.

The story goes back and forth between the days immediately after
9/11 and 22 years before. Past events involve the shooting of a young man
and the death of the accused shooter. Many lives were changed and secrets buried. If those secrets come out, more lives will be ruined. Is the search for truth worth the cost? Laura must decide that for herself.

Rozan does a good job of putting the reader into post-9/11 New York and showing the impact the World Trade Center attack had on the everyday lives of her characters, who still see smoke
as they go to work and no traffic on normally busy streets. This is a powerful story. (Sep., 367 pp., $24.00)

Reviewed By: Lorraine Gelly

Publisher: Delacorte

Published: September 2004

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