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Rozan, S. J.

306 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0385338031 / ISBN 13: 9780385338035
Published by Delacorte Press, New York, New York, U.S.A., 2004
Condition: Very Fine Hardcover
From Kathleen Simpson (Simi Valley, CA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

A 367 page novel set in post-911 New York. SIGNED and dated by the author on the title page. First edition, first printing. New and unread. Dust jacket is enclosed in a clear mylar cover. Book will be carefully packed and shipped in a box. Bookseller Inventory # 14391

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Bibliographic Details


Publisher: Delacorte Press, New York, New York, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 2004

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Very Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Fine

Signed: Signed by Author

Edition: First Edition

About this title


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.


Lawrence Block was early out of the gates with a crime novel, Small Town, that drew its sweeping story from the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, U.S. terrorist attacks, only to be followed closely by John le Carré (Absolute Friends) and Dan Fesperman (The Warlord's Son). Now comes S.J. Rozan. In Absent Friends, this Edgar Award-winning author takes a wide detour from her series featuring Manhattan private eyes Lydia Chin and Bill Smith (Winter and Night) to deliver a standalone yarn that is much more satisfying as a character study than a mystery.

Jimmy McCaffery, a decorated 46-year-old captain with the New York City Fire Department, was "notoriously publicity-shy but famous for daredevil heroic deeds." His death in the collapsing World Trade Center quickly came to symbolize the abundant sacrifices made on 9/11, as well as the ability of New Yorkers to mine courage from catastrophe. But when a newspaper alleges that McCaffery had long been funneling money from "a Staten Island developer and reputed organized crime figure" to the widow of Mark Keegan, a mechanic who'd been convicted for the 1979 self-defense shooting of a wannabe mobster (only to later perish during a prison fight), more than just McCaffery's reputation is put at risk. So are the late firefighter's closest childhood friends, who have maintained his secrets for much too long; Keegan's son, who has grown to accept his father's early demise and to hero-worship McCaffery; and Phil Constantine, the lawyer who defended Keegan and has since tried to engineer a relationship with his widow. When Harry Randall, the once-renowned newspaperman responsible for unearthing the McCaffery scandal, is killed in a fall from the Verrazano Narrows Bridge--is it suicide, or something more nefarious?--his much younger girlfriend, reporter Laura Stone, determines to continue that investigation. No matter where it leads, or who it might hurt.

Rozan is at her best when describing Manhattan immediately after the attacks:

This close to the site, a smoky scent drifted on the air. Fires were still burning under tons of dust and steel. Like everyone downtown, Laura had been smelling this odor for weeks; but still she was unsure whether it was a bitter smell, or sweet. The acridness was the scent of smoldering plastic, and steel, and jet fuel. The sweetness, she had been told, was flesh.

She does well, too, at dribbling out the facts of the McCaffery case, wrapping each with remorse, regret, or guilt; and at telling her tale from multiple viewpoints, her principal players shaped equally by pain and hope. However, the conclusion of Absent Friends is something of a letdown, less surprising or emotionally wrenching than it is merely complicated. Once more we are told that nothing is as simple as it seems. Certainly not love. --J. Kingston Pierce

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Modern Fiction and Mystery. New and used. Many signed. For further information, please contact me at 805-582-0162.

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Kathleen Simpson, 2992 Chippewa Avenue, Simi Valley, CA 93063. Telephone and
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