Forgiving Mariela Camacho
Creating a better life and hoping to gain their freedom many leave their home countries. Within these groups of people are different cultures many ethic groups. How some go about it is the center of this novel. Each person’s life within the pages of this multi-cultural novel spans many decades and generations. The voices are different. The languages and customs many but the goals ultimately the same. Z
Life brings many changes and people into our lives, harts and minds. Sometimes those people remain with us forever and other times circumstances arise that rip them form our lives but never from our hearts and minds. Tolya Kuchenko and Pete Gonzalvez walked into a crime scene that would haunt them both forever. Relationships, friendships and pasts that some would rather keep hidden are now brought out and spotlighted. As both detectives walk into the room with the victim little did they know that the connection Pete had to the woman lying dead on the floor? Mariela Camacho was the true love of his life yet Pete married someone else. The truth about Mariela lies in the past as the author brilliantly reveals in flashbacks to Pete and Mariela’s lives within the Dominican Republic. At the same time Tolya’s wife Karin enters a room with a rabbi to discuss conversion.
Santo Domingo Republic 1992: The author relates memories Pete has of a man called Tio Polito who was like a father figure or older brother and his uncle. Life was hard for Pete as a young teen. Losing his parents and taken in by Polito his uncle along with Mariela, Imelda and Katarina. But, Mariela caught his eye from moment he met her and the connection was instant. Chicho his best friend would soon take his place in her life as things changed as the relationship became more permanent. Learning more about Mariela he realized that something about her was intoxicating and Pete would not give up on being with her. Relating the fate of her parents and understanding more about his uncle, his business relationships and more Pete becomes fearful and things take a turn that no one expects. Becoming a Detective put him in a tenuous position when dealing with Polito and his business affiliations.
Mariela’s death was recorded at first as a suicide as she left a note. But, when Pete and Tolya began looking closely at the scene and learning more about her they both realized it was murder but why?
Karin, Tolya’s wife is about to have their third son and is the chief curator of the Jewish Heritage Museum hosting a new exhibition called Dominican Haven. The primary goal of the exhibition is to create understanding, friendship and tolerance between the Dominican and Jewish communities. The history behind this spans from 1938 until the present hoping to bring and unite two groups of poor people together. The primary focus and how they helped each other prosper and grow is another focal point of this novel. Coming back to the present, as Pete and Tolya now have to face their pasts and Karin her own demons to bear. But, another voice is heard that of the killer who seeks revenge. Pete recalls his life in the Dominican Republic and how Polito took him in, met Mariela and the reason why he married Glynnis.
Karin’s exhibition faces some financial issues and when a benefactor comes out of nowhere Tolya becomes suspicious as other murders come to light from the past and this might not just be one isolated incident. Author A. J. Sidransky once again takes readers into the minds of many of the characters in order to hear their rationalizations, thoughts and fears about what they planned.
Tolya and Pete finally got the go ahead to investigate Mariela’s death and learn more about what happened to her and Imelda and Katrina. Learning about a Russian family named Tserverin and how they died would bring about how a family named Portnoy immigrated to Israel and just how this one father managed to pull it off. The Portnoy family died in a fire and the truth behind it will shock readers and help you understand the rationale behind a killer’s motives at least in his mind. Within Chapter 25 you will hear the voice of the killer and how he explains his plan to take care of his family but not in the way you think. Sometimes fathers are cruel and what they get in return is not always what they might expect.
Changing his life, leaving his mother country and coming Germany he felt free and entered a new world But, our killer had a passion for young women and not for the reasons you might think. Using them for his own pleasure and then taking their lives gave him satisfaction. Read pages 240- 243 and learn more.
Tolya and Karin were at odds when he told her to be careful dealing with this unknown benefactor not realizing that she might be his next victim. As the night of the benefit comes closer and the benefactor agrees to pick up Karin and provide the funds and transportation for those that are not covered by the museum’s fund, she never expects the outcome of what he has planned and why. Not able to reach Karin causes more than just concern in Tolya and even though his captain claims that there is back up he and Pete decide to handle it on their own. Learning more about Mariela’s past and understanding her relationship with Chicho adds to the tension of the situation and learning more about what she did when in America was quite enlightening. Some girls come here to work as secretaries where as Mariela needed to get away from her family and decided on something more exotic that just might have gotten her killed. Changing her name and her appearance was the first step but the reason behind her death more than just frightening and since the killer has Karin marked for the next victim what he intends to do to her just might kill her and her unborn child.
Racing the clock and time about to run out on the time limit the killer gave Toyla can he and Pete find her before it’s too late? Reaching back again we learn more about Polito and his relationship to a man called Double X and just where the pieces of this puzzle started and how things came apart. Just how Pete and Chicho became involved with this dangerous man and why Polito was able to stop what he wanted and safe them will help readers understand why eventually he had to forgive the man for what he did and more. But, can he forgive himself for abandoning him and pushing him aside? Can Tolya forgive himself for the way he and his father ended their relationship? Will he allow himself to be converted along with his children and Karin? What about Pete? Will he forgive Mariela and understand why she had to push him aside? An ending so violent, dramatic and heart breaking but closure often comes in different ways to different people. Can Pete understand why his best friend held back information about Mariela? Author A.J. Sidransky once again delivers a novel with punch, vividly depicted characters, flashbacks that are brilliantly created to help readers understand the rationale behind each character’s actions and motives and most of all the cover says it all.
Fran Lewis: Just Reviews/ MJ Magazine