The Bottom Line: A must-read crime thriller about an NYPD detective attempting to solve his own parents’ murder.
Sun Tzu may have said “Keep your friends close; keep your enemies closer,” but Henry Hack gives the phrase new meaning in his simmering thriller, Absolution. Hack’s story follows the plight of NYPD homicide lieutenant Michael Simon attempting to solve the decades-old murder of his own parents.
The book’s first brilliant twist comes on the very first page: Michael’s story is narrated by his parent’s killer. Told in the first person, Joey “Noonz” Mastronunzio participated in a home invasion – against his will, or so he says – and inadvertently killed the young couple, leaving Michael orphaned. The guilt-ridden killer then observes as Michael becomes a man, a police officer, a detective, and eventually, attempts to solve the case in which he is the primary victim.
But Hack gives fair time to Michael as well, whose coming of age story – told from his own point of view – includes the discovery of his ethnic identity and an eventual alliance with the Bishop of Brooklyn. In covering such a large time period from different perspectives, Hack could have easily broken Absolution up into a series of novels. He instead opts to tell the story cinematically, offering hard-hitting glimpses into significant moments of Michael and Joey’s lives. The result is a fast-paced novel in which the case becomes deeper and more dangerous than either could have imagined. Buckle up and get ready for plenty of twists in this must-read crime thriller.