Detective Pete Gonzalvez knew from the start that the dead woman he and his partner, Tolya Kurchenko, discovered in a Manhattan apartment did not commit suicide. Pete knew her better than that. Mariela Comacho was the love of his life. The road to the truth winds through the slums of the Dominican Republic, the cold streets of Soviet Moscow, the hot sands of the Judean Hills, and into the dark clubs of New York City's underworld. They learn that Mariela was not merely murdered, but was the most recent victim of an international serial killer--a phantom from Tolya's past--and Karin Kurchenko, nine months pregnant, could be in his cold-blooded crosshairs.
Forgiving Mariela Comacho, the second book in the Forgiving series, is AJ Sidransky at his best. A fast-paced thriller with witty, gritty dialogue and thoughtful perspective, its pages are rich with the engaging elements that continue to draw readers to Sidransky's unique prose.
|Publisher:||Berwick Court Publishing Co|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Alan Sidransky has written a powerful sequel to his first published novel, Forgiving Maximo Rothman. When tenants complain about a bad smell, NYPD detectives, Tolya Kurchenko and Pedro Gonzalvez, breach an apartment door, finding a dead woman, whose throat is slashed, along with a suicide note. Sadly, Pedro Gonzalvez recognizes Mariela Comacho, his truest love from the Dominican Republic. Sidransky explores powerful themes: the immigrant experience (Jews and Dominicans in Washington Heights), poverty and the lure of drug money to escape, friendship, love, and family. Tolya's wife, Karin, is converting to Judaism and we follow both of their religious doubts and her work promoting a show championing Sosua. Pedro must call in favors from his estranged uncle and boyhood friend Chicho, overcoming his long-simmering anger, to help solve Mariela's murder and save the life of his partner's wife and unborn child, who are kidnapped by a boyhood nemesis and serial killer from Russia. Recommended.
In his follow up to FORGIVING MAXIMO ROTHMAN, A. J. Sidransky outdoes himself. FORGIVING MARIELA CAMACHO continues from where the first book left off. Although, the two books are just as good if read out of order, doing so will reveal a major spoiler, if that worries you. Apart from that, I believe the story arc and theme of both books are enriched by reading them in order. It’s no accident that the word “forgiveness” is used in both titles. That theme – forgiveness of past mistakes and transgressions – is thoroughly explored through the relationships between the characters, while the story itself pulls the reader headlong into a murder investigation. The two main characters – Pete Gonzalvez and Tolya Kurchenko, two police detectives of different ethnicities, with different painful issues from the past that haunt them – are at heart like brothers. They each must learn to forgive others who have wronged them in some way. This book puts the lie to the conventional wisdom that great crime writing can’t be great literature. Sidransky’s prose strikes the ideal balance between descriptive and action-oriented. The plot is convoluted, leading you one way, only to turn back and go another. So Gonzalvez, who starts off as the main focus of the story, ends up being secondary to Kurchenko, as the killer turns his sights toward Kurchenko’s wife. The only thing I had trouble with was the idea that Kurchenko’s wife (a former internal affairs police officer) would so readily trust a stranger – in this case, the bad guy. But, this novel is so well-written and moving in its emotional gravity that I could easily overlook that. FORGIVING MARIELA CAMACHO swept me up into its world, and I was addicted to the story until the final page.
In Washington Heights, Manhattan, Detectives Pete Gonzalvez and Tolya Kurchenko find an apparent suicide and become convinced the woman is a victim of a multiple murderer. The trail crosses continents and years, with times, locations and characters vividly recreated and wonderfully relevant to the present day. While readers of the author’s earlier novel, Forgiving Maximo Rothmann, will be familiar with some of the people in this tale, new readers will find background information quickly and neatly threaded exactly where needed. The novel stands alone perfectly. Author A. J. Sidransky portrays the cultural mix of Washington Heights through convincing dialog, haunting histories, and a powerful sense of that much larger world which shadows our everyday lives. The immigrant experience of never quite belonging feeds into a universal search for self, where spirituality, family commitments, the loyalties of friends, and even the cruelties of evil play their part. My favorite character must surely be Rabbi Rothmann, a wonderfully nuanced soul with genuine love for the people around him. My favorite scenes, because they feel so true, are those between a husband and wife as they fail to communicate vital information. (The dialog, here and everywhere, is surely spot on.) My favorite sub-plot follows Pete coming to terms with his family and his past. My favorite stranger is a Vietnamese seller of sandwiches. My favorite advice (from the rabbi of course)—“marriage is really about forgiveness—forgiving your spouse their shortcomings and forgiving yourself yours.” And my favorite theme must be the forgiveness he portrays. The author threads tales from past and present, from Manhattan, Europe, the Dominican Republic and more, and from hardscrabble failure to hard-won success, making a tapestry of real lives, woven, interwoven, interlinking in coincidence that somehow feels totally convincing, and bound into wondrous threads of relationship. The novel is a mystery, tinged with terror and suspense. But it’s also a tale of cultures combining and colliding, people learning, growing, and forgiving, and the ubiquitous nature of love conquering evil after all. If you’ve not already read Forgiving Maximo Rothmann, you’ll be eager to read it next after reading this—small lives writ large in bright colors, and the whole world’s the stage. Disclosure: I was given a free proof copy and I offer my honest review.