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Absent Friendsby S. J. Rozan
Synopses & Reviews
The secrets of a group of childhood friends unravel in this haunting thriller by Edgar Award winner S. J. Rozan. Set in New York in the unforgettable aftermath of September 11, Absent Friends brilliantly captures a time and place unlike any other, as it winds through the wounded streets of New York and Staten Island...and into a maze of old crimes, damaged lives, and heartbreaking revelations. The result is not only an electrifying mystery and a riveting piece of storytelling but an elegiac novel that powerfully explores a world changed forever on a clear September morning.
In a novel that will catch you off guard at every turn, and one that is guaranteed to become a classic, S. J. Rozan masterfully ratchets up the tension one revelation at a time as she dares you to ponder the bonds of friendship, the meaning of truth, and the stuff of heroism.
"New York City Fire Capt. James McCaffery is a hero to everyone who knew him, and many who didn't, even before his death at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. In the aftermath of that awful day, 'New York needs heroes,' as one character puts it. So it's particularly upsetting to the people McCaffery grew up with on Staten Island when a newspaper reporter suggests he may have been linked to organized crime and a shooting that happened exactly 22 years earlier. On September 11, 1979, Mark Keegan, a childhood friend of McCaffery's and most of the other characters in this rich, beautifully written book, killed a local mob boss's stepson — allegedly in self-defense — and later died in prison. Ever since, someone has been financially supporting Keegan's wife and young son, Kevin. The benefactor turns out to be McCaffery, but why? And where did the money come from? Rozan is a wonderful and insightful writer, and she creates an intricate, intimate portrait of a group of 40-something New Yorkers coping with a city in ruins. But the small mystery of Mark Keegan and Jimmy McCaffery cannot help paling in comparison to the larger evil perpetrated on 9/11, and the scope of the author's canvas — multiple perspectives and far too many flashbacks — makes the story more convoluted than it deserves to be. Nonetheless, the book powerfully articulates the mix of heartbreak, anger, helplessness and resolve of New Yorkers after 9/11." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Many years from now when your children ask what New York City was like just after 9/11, this will be the book you give them in response. It's an exquisite novel full of heart, soul, passion and intelligence, and it's the one this great New York author was born to write." Lee Child
"The best contemporary novels create context for shared experiences that somehow remain unfathomable. Full of surprises from page one, Absent Friends is one of those — S.J. Rozan has written an ambitious, solemn, and ultimately hopeful book that shouldn't be missed." Stephen White
"S. J. Rozan is, hands-down, one of my favorite crime writers working today. To read her is to experience the kind of pure pleasure that only a master can deliver." Dennis Lehane
"Rozan has you looking over your shoulder into the dark." Michael Connelly
"S. J. Rozan has written the most consistently compelling series of traditional detective novels published in this decade. Now is the time to discover what Rozan's loyal readership has known all along." George Pelecanos
"Okay, listen up: This woman can write!" Robert Crais
"[A] riveting offering reminiscent of Dennis Lehane's Mystic River. An unforgettable elegy to the clear September morning that forever changed our lives." Booklist (Starred Review)
"Absent Friends is a meditation on love, loss and enduring friendships as filtered through the shattering aftermath of 9/11....Without question one of the year's standout novels." Baltimore Sun
"Absent Friends is a look at the nature of heroes, friendship, truth and self-knowledge.....The final chapter is richly heartbreaking and awe-inspiring." Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
"Rozan, who has won all the crime-genre awards for her Bill Smith/Lydia Chin detective titles, breaks away from that series with a novel that could stand proudly beside those of the masters, Dennis Lehane and George Pelecanos." The New York Daily News
"The story revolves around four boys and three girls — their childhoods, myriad backgrounds and families — and the men and women they become....Rozan delivers a rich, sophisticated view of New Yorkers whose lives, like so many others, were so vastly changed on that September morning." The Newport News Daily Press
"Add S.J. Rozan to the list of artists and writers addressing the legacy of 9/11. Her ambitious Absent Friends uses that event as the backdrop for a heartbreaking story about secrets, loyalty and our primal need for heroes." Seattle Times
Jimmy. Markie. Vickie. Marian. Sally. Tom. Jack. Childhood friends, each will live in the shadow of a past that still echoes with hopes and regrets. Markie will die in prison. Jim will die a hero when the Towers fall. But it is a reporter's suicide and a colleague's desperate search for answers in the dark aftermath of a horrifying tragedy that will finally penetrate their silence. Both a daring mystery and a tribute to an event that changed our lives irrevocably, it is Absent Friends' rich characters and indelible portrait of New York City that readers will find unforgettable — and that mark this extraordinary novel as the signature work of an author poised to take her place in the front ranks.
About the Author
S. J. Rozan is the author of eight novels in the Edgar, Shamus, Nero, Macavity and Anthony Award-winning Lydia Chin/Bill Smith series. Born and raised in the Bronx, Rozan is an architect in a New York firm and lives in Greenwich Village, where she is at work on her next novel of suspense, which Delacorte will publish in 2005.
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