Forgiving Maximo Rothman by A.J. Sidranksy


When nonagenarian Max Redmond is found brutally beaten in his Washington Heights apartment, the attack raises a lot of concern and suspicion—and, when the old man dies, the drama is only heightened. The police investigation turns from assault to murder, and the evidence, along with most folks’ fingers, point to one suspect. But, seasoned detective Anatoly “Tolya” Kurchenko doesn’t share most folks’ opinions. He’s convinced that the obvious suspect didn’t do it, and he’s determined to find out who did—and, indeed, he does, though that’s not all he discovers in the process. When searching Rothman’s apartment for evidence, Tolya finds the decedent’s journals, and as he reads them, he finds out that he and Max have a few things in common, from religious matters and family tragedies to cultural issues and concerns over one’s own human nature. Dovetailing Toyla’s and Max’s stories is that of Max’s son, Shalom Rothman (fka Steven Redmond), a devout adherent to the Jewish faith, who’s married to a rabbi’s daughter with whom he raises a “troubled” child now in his teen years. The three men—Tolya, Max, and Shalom—all share a common religion, though their responses to such vary greatly, and, it is in this regard that Forgiving Maximo Rothman by A.J. Sidranksy truly stands out as a relatively short text that speaks volumes.

Part murder mystery; part family saga; part history lesson; and part primer on Jewish traditions, and values, Forgiving Maximo Rothman is a completely captivating, compelling novel that intertwines the stories of three very different men to explore what it means to be a father, son, brother, man of faith, and spouse/significant other. A delightfully deliberate, delicate, and sometimes disturbing tome, it carries readers from New York to the Dominican Republic, Russia, and beyond, through the pits and peaks of human experience and emotion, and weaves a tale that’s incredibly basic, as far as how it’s told and the messages it conveys, but incredibly complex in its writing. Multilayered, multi-cultural, and multi-generational, Forgiving Maximo Rothman is a must-read for anyone who wants a story as touching as it is well-written and astounding.

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