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Reviewed by Saifunnissa Hassam for Readers' Favorite
Roger Canaff's novel Among the Dead is a crime, mystery, and legal thriller set in NY (Alex Greco ADA Series, Book 1). Hector Ruiz, an 11-year-old profoundly autistic child, is found murdered in the bathtub in his home in the Bronx. Alex Greco has been an Assistant District Attorney in the Bronx for two years. Previously a prosecuting attorney in Virginia, he moved to NY after the tragic death of his own autistic son, 3-year-old Jordan. Alex takes up the case of Hector Ruiz's homicide as the prosecution trial attorney. Circumstantial evidence points to Hector's father, Norman Ruiz, as the prime suspect. The critical moment in the case happens when Alex is struck by a witness statement, seeing it from a different perspective. Alex pursues nagging doubts, both inside and outside the courtroom, that turn into terrifying certainty. The investigation twists and turns in a dramatic and escalating sequence of horrifying events.
Roger Canaff's novel Among the Dead quickly turned into an immersive, gripping read for me. The thriller's tangled web of complex characters, autism, and child homicide sprang to life as the story went deeper into the lives of two different autistic children, Hector Ruiz, the homicide victim, and Jordan Greco, Alex Greco's son. I think the interweaving of the investigation and Alex's inner struggles was very effective in revealing his grief and guilt over the loss of his son Jordan. The title of the novel - Among the Dead - expresses very well Alex's state of mind when he first moves to NY: he immerses himself in his work, but the loss of his son haunts him. I liked Alex's character and professional development as the investigation progresses, and the way he finally comes to terms with his past and the loss of his son. A fantastic and riveting thriller, well-crafted, challenging, and thought-provoking!