A.J. Sidransky has written a compelling sequel to Forgiving Maximo Rothman (2013). New York City homicide detectives Tolya Kurchenko and Pete Gonzalvez report to the scene of a suicide in an elegant Manhattan apartment. Pete recognizes the dead woman, Mariela Camacho; they grew up together in the Dominican Republic and she was the love of his life. He knows that she did not kill herself, but convincing his captain of this fact is not easy. As Pete and Tolya investigate, they find links to a series of similar deaths in other countries, and realize that they must begin searching for an international serial killer. The killer’s next target may be Tolya’s Dominican wife, Karin. A former police officer, Karin now works at the Museum of Jewish Heritage where she is preparing to open an exhibit about the Jewish community of Sosúa in the Dominican Republic. She is also converting to Judaism and hoping that Tolya, a Soviet émigré who is not officially considered Jewish, will join her and their two older sons at the mikvah.
This page-turner is more than a first-rate mystery. It explores family bonds and dysfunctional relationships, Jewish identity, and the intimate connection that develops between police partners. It also brings to light the little-known role that the Dominican Republic played in rescuing Jewish refugees during World War II. Sidransky paints a vivid picture of life in the Dominican Republic and in the Dominican community of Washington Heights. As the case unfolds, he transports the reader to Santo Domingo, the Soviet Union, Israel, and Germany with equal precision. The perspectives of the detectives, the victim, various family members, are deftly interwoven with that of the killer.
Mystery readers will greatly enjoy this novel, but it will also appeal to all readers looking for new and insightful explorations of Jewish identity, intermarriage, and parenting.