While I very rarely post book reviews these days, A. J. Sidransky, an author of my acquaintance, sent me a free copy of his latest crime fiction/thriller novel, FORGIVING MARIELA CAMACHO, and asked if I would share my thoughts about it.

I not only loved this book, I felt deeply compelled to share my thoughts about it with the world. And so, here is my honest review of the novel.


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.


That’s it! Have a great weekend! 🙂

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