Heart of the City
By Robert Rotenberg; 2017, 270 pages
Heart of the City by Robert Rotenberg was definitely one of the better books I read last summer. In fact, Rotenberg very quickly became my new favourite author. This is a crime novel, which I am not generally a fan of due to the fact that I worked in corrections for nearly 10 years. I heard about my fair share of crime. On that note, I find law enforcement personnel fall into two different types of reader categories: those who love to read crime novels or those who feel there is nothing anyone can put into a crime novel that has not yet been witnessed by them in real life. In my opinion, this book is a great read for both types.
The plot follows Det. Ari Green, who, just like many of you, found himself in law enforcement, hoping to make a difference, but who ended up leaving it earlier than anticipated due to a chain of administrative mishaps that ultimately led to his resignation.
Rotenberg, who is a long time Toronto criminal lawyer, has done a phenomenal job describing the historical sites of every nook and cranny in the city. This book will definitely bring back many memories for those of us who have a strong familiarity with Ontario’s capital.
The author has also done an incredible job portraying Det. Green — he leaps off the page! He does this not only by realistically detailing how Green’s policing career impacted him and his professional worldview, but also by peeling back the layers and revealing Green as someone very human with personal struggles that extend far beyond the work day. Such a portrayal allows the reader to see Green not only as a first responder but also as a father, as the son of an immigrant Holocaust survivor, as a friend who accepts every Christmas shift so his co-workers are able to spend time with their families, and as someone who has had to make a significant career change mid-life. These are all traits many of us can relate to in one way or another.
I found it to be a great quick read and hope Rotenberg will have another novel out soon.
Visit robertrotenberg.com for more details on all his books.
– Elina Feyginberg, author of Blue Line’s Corrections Corner blog.
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