Tuesday 27 July 2021



Synopsis/blurb ....

Hoboken: an amorphous, violent city, transformed into a chic high-rent neighbourhood full of disposable incomes and high aspiration. Police detective Brian Vincenti is charged with investigating the case of a young woman's self-destruction - or murder - after she falls from an eleventh floor window in one of the town's up-and-coming districts. Vincenti's journey takes us beyond the damp, stained streets of Hoboken's nightlife and into his own chaotic world: that of transsexual former colleague Ellen Smith, his turbulent family life, and unshakeable demons.

Disturbing, haunting and melancholic. A detective struggling to reconcile his actions in the past, investigates a suicide (or murder or accident) and the historic, shameful act which ruined his marriage and emotional well-being comes back to haunt him. Not that it has ever really left him anyway. He's reminded of it on a daily basis.... the strained interactions with his disgusted wife, the disapproval of the child minder, the fantasies of taking his son away from the turmoil, the guilt.

A death and an investigation, fractured families - more than one, ruined careers, a previously solid friendship and work partnership, on life-support and buckling under the shared, horrific secret.

I liked Vincenti's persistence throughout the book. The slow reveal of information, the drip-drip-drip of facts, the re-interviewing of witnesses, the connections uncovered, the lost family found and the dawning realisation at the answers he gets. I bet Vincenti is an expert onion peeler.

There's a real symmetry to the book. The outcome when it comes closes the circle. Vincenti's has answers and more guilt for his conscience to contend with. Despite his one mistake, two if you count an inability to keep his mouth shut my sympathies were with Brian Vincenti throughout. 

Thoughtful and impressive. Not a book I will forget in a hurry.

4.5 from 5

Mark SaFranko has been enjoyed a couple of times before - The Favor and No Strings
Rest assured I'll be reading him again in the future.

Read - June, 2021
Published - 2014
Page count - 288
Source - purchased copy
Format - paperback


  1. This does sound moody and atmospheric, Col. And I always respect an author who can make me have sympathy for a complicated, difficult character. To me, that takes talent. You don't see a lot of books set in Hoboken, either, so that's an interesting setting. Glad you felt drawn in with this one.

  2. Margot, I'm a fan of Mark SaFranko's work. There's always a lot going on under the surface.

  3. Safranko is one of my favorite writers. The Suicide is a good read that I finished in a few days. I liked it because despite its dark subject matter there is the humor and the reality of truly being alive.

    1. Thom, thanks for stopping by and commenting. Happy to cross paths with another admirer of his work. I think I'll try Hopler's Statement next.