Saturday 23 July 2022


Synopsis/blurb …

Detective Jack “Mac” McCrae has lost his hero. Without children or any family, the retired detective takes the death of his mentor hard. When the man's son reaches out to Mac with a mysterious letter containing a startling confession, asking for his help, Mac finds he can't say no.

He interprets the cryptic letter and begins to search for answers. Who did his hero wrong? And why?

Mac's investigation reveals a decades-old case in which a bad man was sent to prison. But was it right or wrong? Just or corrupt? And regardless of the answers to those questions, a larger one looms -- what to do now?

Mac discovers that some answers can lead to harder questions... and at times, this life requires even more from us.

The second book in Jack McCrae mystery series.

(*NOTE: Jack McCrae mysteries take place in the same universe as Frank Zafiro's SpoCompton series and Sandy Banks thrillers)

All That This Life Requires is the second entry in Frank Zafiro's Jack McCrae series, ten years after At This Point in My Life appeared.

Retired cop Jack McCrae digs into the case files of recently passed Sergeant Perry “Akeela” Williamson at the behest of his son. Akeela was McCrae's mentor and a straight arrow in all his dealings. Or so Jack thought. A letter left to the son, casts some doubt on that and his son needs some answers. McCrae agrees to look into things for him.

McCrae is assisted in his quest by his friend and former partner on the job, current homicide detective Angie Scialfa. Angie can access all the old case files and between her and Jack they spend days searching through Akeela's cases. They aren't really sure what they are looking for..... anomalies, discrepancies, something out of the usual pattern of reports and interviews.  Cases are reviewed, assessed, eliminated, narrowed down and a possible/probable contender is identified.

Akeela's former partner on the job meets with Jack and arranges for our man to get roughed up and leaves him with a warning to leave well alone.

Jack is persistent if nothing else.

It's a book which poses an interesting question about justice and all its guises. Is justice truly served by manipulating evidence to secure a conviction of a guilty party, who would otherwise walk free? Would it be right for a 100% nailed on, guaranteed child molestor to skate, if the evidence didn't exist to put him away? Who gets to decide? 

McCrae's actions here have repurcussions for his relationship with Angie and have an unintended consequence for a victim in the case he is investigating. 

It's a really intriguing book with a moral dilemna at its heart. Can doing the wrong thing for the right reasons ever be justified? It was also interesting to see what Jack was prepared to sacrifice personally just to see things through until the end. It's almost as if he is trying to prove to himself he could have been better when he was on the job, as opposed to mediocre, an unfulfilled man going through the motions. 

Guilt, decisions, outcomes, impact, relationships, regret, and more. Things are rarely black and white. Life's a lot more complicated. 

I liked this one a lot. Fingers are crossed for a third McCrae book, hopefully not in another ten years time.

4.5 stars from 5 

Read – July, 2022

Published – 2022

Page count – 215

Source – review copy from author

Format - Kindle


  1. Glad you dug it. New McCrae in 2023.

  2. This really does sound interesting, Col! It's not easy to write a book that tells an absorbing story and raises some moral/ethical/etc. question, too without it taking away from the story itself. And Mac sounds like an interesting character, too. I can see why you liked it so well.

    1. Margot, I like books that pose an interesting question. I'm still pondering my own stance on the subject.