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Absent Friends

3.33  ·  Rating details ·  337 ratings  ·  44 reviews
The secrets of a group of childhood friends unravel in this haunting thriller by Edgar Award winner S. J. Rozan. Set in New York in the unforgettable aftermath of September 11, Absent Friends brilliantly captures a time and place unlike any other, as it winds through the wounded streets of New York and Staten Island...and into a maze of old crimes, damaged lives, and heart ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published August 30th 2005 by Delta (first published January 1st 2004)
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Average rating 3.33  · 
Rating details
 ·  337 ratings  ·  44 reviews

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Una Tiers
Feb 07, 2016 rated it liked it
This book didn't live up to Rozan's ability. The writing was clear. The vignettes about a group of friends focused around 9/11 staggered and never fell together. ...more
May 08, 2009 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: noone
Recommended to Teresa by: Mystery/Thriller board
Shelves: 2009-read
This book was not a joy to read. I felt with the title Absent Friends and the setting post 9-11 in NYC. It would be a story that focused on the aftermath of that day and how people picked up the pieces and moved on in their lives. Instead Jimmy a NYFD is killed in the towers and we flash back and forth between 2001 and 1979. It seems a childhood friend was killed and the one who did the shooting is in jail and tradegy happens again. We then spend over 300 pages trying to make sense of a muddled ...more
Daphne Atkeson
Jun 16, 2009 rated it liked it
This book, set around Sept. 11, got rave reviews from top thriller/suspense writers like it was the Second Coming. Multiple POVs of childhood friends, a murder caused by one or more of them, a scandal regarding possible mob money from fallen firefighter hero, suicide/murder of a reporter. Chapter changes insanely frequent, dragged out revelations until you didn't care any more who did what, cliched backstory childhood incidents, overwrought sentimentality.

Evocative writing, gifted stylist, but o
Dec 13, 2011 rated it did not like it
I am surprised that I read this book to the end. It got good reviews from significant sources, so I kept at it.
It was very tedious through the first half of the book. Then I began to keep the characters straight and it became more interesting,, and the individuals became important to me. I kept reading to find out what happens to them all.
It was a very sad story, set against a backdrop of 9/11, and at the end I felt angry with the author, feeling "what was the point?"
I won't be reading any more
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was given to me by another SJ Rozan fan that couldn't get into it. It's not written in her usual style. The book is about a group of childhood friends who grew up around New York City area, now adults, and how they experience 9/11 as well as a digging into a long kept secret among them. It's a book that still leaves me feeling at a loss for words of how describe and review it, but in the same instance that reveals the brilliance of SJ Rozan. The impression of the book, and how she weav ...more
Karen Hazzah
Jul 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm a fan of Rozan's Lydia Chin / Bill Smith series, but it took me a while to get into this standalone. I initially found it hard to keep track of the many characters and changing point-of-view. But I persevered, and I'm glad I did. Good story of buried secrets, old friends, and moving on. Interesting setting -- New York City right after 9/11 -- added a layer of interest. ...more
Apr 17, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
Tried 3x to start, may have been my mood, but cannot get into this one.
Geoff Wooldridge
Aug 29, 2016 rated it liked it
The story covers two distinct periods of time.

Firstly, in a battered post 9/11 New York, around 6 weeks after the collapse of the World Trade Centre Towers, as the city mourns, deals with the shock and life slowly regains a degree of normality.

Secondly, in the suburban environment of Pleasant Hills on Staten Island in the late 1970s, where a group of friends, 4 men, three women, are growing up, forming relationships and, for some at least, finding trouble.

A firemen, Jimmy McCaffery, with a reput
Melissa (LifeFullyBooked)
From the shadows of September 11, a hero emerged. James McCafferty, a NYC firefighter known to his co-workers as 'Superman' died while rescuing people from the World Trade Center. But a month later, after two newspaper articles laud McCafferty's heroics, a third article raises questions about his integrity.

Reporter Harry Randall insinuates that McCafferty was dirty, with ties to organized crime. Then Randall dies in an apparent suicide, which raises the eyebrows of Laura Stone, Randall's lover
Apr 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Richard Thompson
Jun 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book is very different structurally and thematically from most of Rozan's novels. Not part of the Chin/Smith series.

The story revolves around the lives of seven friends — three girls and four boys — who grew up together in the community of Pleasant Hills (think Pleasantville as in the movie) on Staten Island. We switch back and forth from their lives and relationships in the late 60's and into the 70's and the "present day" which is the period immediately after 911. One of the boys from the
Jul 30, 2012 rated it liked it
I'm not going to review the story as many reviewers have already done so. I will say it is a confusing book. This is the first story I've read by SJ Rozan and had no clue as to what it was about; I had read a review of the author and thought I would try her book. It took quite a few chapters before I grasped what the book was about. The author takes us back and forth between 1979 and Sept. 12, 2001 but I had to ask myself why? Just as I was learning about a character, time shifted. It wasn't unt ...more
S.J. Rozen – Standalone
Delacorte Press, 2004 – Hardcover
James McCaffery, a NYFD captain, is one of the fallen heroes of 9/11. But reporter Harry Randell seems to believe James may not have always been so heroic and was involved with a known mobster. When Harry dies of an apparent suicide, a fellow reporter picks up Harry’s leads.
*** Not as much a mystery as a character study, it vacillates between multiple characters and two time periods, which I found tiring a
Kirsty Darbyshire
Dec 07, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: paperback

This tale concerns a group of friends who grew up on Staten Island in the 1970s and mostly takes place in late 2001 in New York just after the attacks on the World Trade Center. I was looking forward to reading it but in the end felt disappointed.

Despite the fact that I've loved and adored Rozan's other books I never really got into the swing of this one and the plot always felt a little clunky and culminated in an ending that seemed very so-so to me. Just didn't seem to be as well written as I

Mar 21, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a book about secrets among a group of childhood friends and the far-reaching consequences - good and bad - of keeping and/or revealing the secrets.

I found it a little confusing at first, but then I really got into it. It was like peeling away the sections of an onion. The main secret - who was providing the money to Markie's widow for 18 years, and why - was slowly revealed and kept me off guard until near the end. I felt it was a wonderfully told mystery and kept me riveted all the way
Apr 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I listened to this audio book in my car exclusively, and since I haven't been going many places in that car lately, it took forever to get through 12 CD's. It was way too long, in my opinion, and I was just determined to get to the end of it. I bought it from the library book sale and therefore didn't have a time incentive to get it back, otherwise I would have abandoned it midway.

The story goes back and forth between close childhood friends and then to their lives post-9/11/2001. It seemed repe
Apr 19, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: mystery, pbs
Ugh....wish I hadn't wasted my time. This book got good reviews on here, so I thought I'd take a chance. NOTHING happened in this book. The first 30 pages had promise, but it dragged and dragged forever and the ending was a big NOTHING. The conversation was hard to follow. The story went back and forth between 1979 and 2001, but if characters in 2001 were talking about a conversation they had in 1979 there weren't any quotation marks. It was annoying trying to figure out who was talking about wh ...more
Nov 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Absent Friends is the kind of read that just gets better and better as it goes along. The characters are many, and at times it was a bit confusing. The author did, however, do a spectacular job of jumping back and forth from the past to the present. In this way the author successfully created her characters from youth to adults. This is a novel about secrets and decisions. About heros and villans. And it is mostly about friends and just what each of us will do for the sake of our relationships. ...more
May 06, 2013 rated it liked it
Well, I tried to really like this book. The story was there, but I almost felt that everything could have been told with much less. If you are listening to this as I did in audio, be prepared to be throughly confused. There are several characters, and the story jumps from present day (2001) to the 1970s when our characters were kids/teens/young adults. I still don't see why the years with the kids was included, except maybe to develop the characters. I just had a hard time following this storyli ...more
Jan 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
haunting novel about 9/11. I think with time 9/11 has really receded into my memory banks and this book made it seem like it happened yesterday. Those of us in the rest of the country can never imagine what it must have been like during that time. I also found it interesting, in this novel at least, that there was not any love lost between the police and fire forces in NY. It just seems like they should work well together but in this book they seemed more like adversaries.
Mar 10, 2012 rated it did not like it
I was not impressed with this 9/11 novel. I felt annoyed with the author for not getting to the point. The reader knows there's a "secret" but doesn't know what it is....ever. Still not sure what was in Jimmy's papers, and important story lines were not satisfyingly concluded. I don't like how Laura's story ended, either. Disappointing read. ...more
Jul 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
A compelling story of an apparent suicide by a journalist in the aftermath of 9/11. Set in the two months after, it traces several high school friends from Staten Island, their coming of age and why a hero was (or was not) a hero.
Sep 27, 2008 rated it liked it
This book was very well written and with the background of NY after 9/11 but the story is sad in an unfulfilling way that made me wish it had continued or had some better resolution.
Jun 01, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2004-reads
RATING: 3.25
Apr 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
Loved this literary myst
Aug 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
It was a little hard for me to keep up with the characters and the time switches.
Nov 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Interesting characters. I plan to read more Rozan.
Feb 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Reviewed for PW; one of the first novels to deal with 9-11 explicitly (at least that I'd read). ...more
Carole Stamps
I didn't finish this. It just wasn't my cup of tea. Mainly, I couldn't handle the writing style.
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SJ Rozan, a native New Yorker, is the author of the Bill Smith and Lydia Chin detective series as well as several stand-alone novels. She has won the the Edgar, Nero, Macavity, Shamus and Anthony awards for Best Novel and the Edgar award for Best Short Story. She is a former Mystery Writers of America National Board member, a current Sisters in Crime National Board member, and President of the Pri ...more

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