by Bruce TierneyOctober, 2004
The aftermath of disaster
The tragedy of 9/11 figures prominently in S.J. Rozan's Absent Friends, as well. Fireman Jimmy McCaffery, a New York legend for much of his life, made the final sacrifice of his career by leading a team of firefighters into the World Trade Center. Scant days later, a tabloid news article calls into question the character of McCaffery and threatens to open up a can of worms that has been quietly occupying shelf space for 20-odd years. When the reporter, old-school journalist Harry Randall, dies in unusual circumstances (a plunge from the Verrazano Narrows Bridge), the death is initially considered a suicide, but one by one his friends and enemies arrive at the notion that Harry's death had been hastened by person or persons unknown. Suspense builds as author Rozan cuts back and forth between past and present, tracing the lives of Jimmy McCaffery and his four closest friends from the innocent days of the '60s through to the sobering aftermath of 9/11. Absent Friends is truly a haunting novel of old secrets and the nature of friendships in the shadow of disaster.