Robert Friedman. The Shadow of the Fathers. ISBN: 978-0-915745-99-9. $22.95.
In Shadow of the Fathers, Robert Friedman turns a disturbing, possibly tragic historical event in Puerto Rico into a captivating work of fiction. Personal obsessions and public events collide as the novel's characters grapple with lies, false identities, puzzling connections, U.S. wars and colonialism. A rich, suspenseful tale, the novel moves from the colorful life of San Juan to the snow-covered streets of New York, from the pastel heat of Miami to the fog-shrouded canals of Amsterdam. Pablo Camino is the son of a doctor sent to Puerto Rico over four decades earlier to research a cure for pernicious anemia. While there, Dr. Cornelius Rhoads claimed in a letter to his close friend, "Ferdie" that he had purposely killed eight of his Puerto Rican patients and planned to exterminate several more of "that degenerate race." The letter was discovered and Rhoads was forced to leave the island. He later insisted it was all a joke. Pablo, a highly regarded Puerto Rican artist, is haunted by his dead father's past. Did the doctor really kill those patients? Has Pablo inherited from him the feelings of murder that often grip his own heart? When Pablo kills an intruder in his home, he vows to finally discover the truth about the father he never knew -and about himself. He flees Puerto Rico to look for Ferdie. Back on the island, Ralph Camacho, Pablo's best friend, carries out his own search into a past that casts heavy shadows on individual lives in the present.
Robert Friedman has managed to blend the mystery tale and a politically charged event to create a masterful literary novel that addresses contemporary issues of global human significance. The story races along at breakneck speed. It is well written, well paced and thoroughly satisfying. Edgardo Vega Yunqué, prize-winning author of No Matter How Much You Promise to Cook or Pay the Rent You Blew It Cauze Bill Bailey Ain't Never Coming Home Again, and other novels. Shadow of the Fathers is captivating and powerful, with a wonderful sense of compassion-and humor. Robert Friedman's ability to create empathy for his characters is outstanding. " Michael Levin, author of The Socratic Method, and other novels and books.
Robert Friedman. Under A Dark Sun ISBN 978-1-888205-26-8. $17.95.
Crime, corruption and colonialism converge both satirically and tragically in Under a Dark Sun, set on the Caribbean island of Colón. Located on author Robert Friedman's literary map in the Lesser Antilles, the Hispanic island is not far from Puerto Rico. After Sara Vázquez returns to Colón, the island of her birth, hoping to find a place she can truly call home, she witnesses a murder. Sara is soon caught in the underside of life on the island. She turns to Nick Ortiz, who covers the police beat for the English-language newspaper. Nick, who has come to Colón to escape an earlier life of poverty, drugs, alcohol and a failed marriage, is drawn to Sara and her plight, and together they go up against the conspiracies and deceit that increasingly menace Sara's life. Interspersed with Sara's narrative is the story of Ted Iglesias, a young, ambitious politician who wants to lead his people out of their colonial morass into a better life. Impeding Ted's plans is El Cacique, the 92-year-old, 13-term governor of the island. Ted must decide just how far he will go to make his own ambitious dreams come true in this vivid, breathtaking novel of suspense. Reviews of previous novels: Shadow of the Fathers: "Friedman meticulously and faithfully recreates the Puerto Rican setting... In this book's case, a Puerto Rican theme translates into a North American novel that recognizes Puerto Rico's complex reality, both the internal struggles and those that come with colonial relations, and does so without the usual cliches." Carmen Dolores Hernández, El Nuevo Día
"Robert Friedman has managed to blend the mystery tale and a politically charged event to create a masterful literary novel that addresses contemporary issues of global human significance." Puerto Rican author Edgardo Vega Yunqué.
Friedman, Robert. The Surrounding Sea. ISBN: 978-1495934742 $22.95
This is a publication of Floricanto Press. The year is 2000 in Puerto Rico. Stevie Pérez and his girlfriend, Laura Rosario, have joined a student protest against the U.S. Navy’s bombing exercises that have caused illness, environmental damages and death on the offshore island of Vieques. The Riot Squad is called onto the campus to quell the protest and in the ensuing violence, Laura is hit by a stray bullet and killed. A grieving Stevie vows to keep Laura’s memory alive by creating a scholarship in her name. He is frustrated in attempts to get help in the community and decides to become a drug mule to obtain the scholarship money. After a few lucrative trips, he is set up in a drug theft. His 20-year-old life in danger, Stevie is forced to flee as the drug gang pursues him from the Bronx to San Juan to the mountain towns of Puerto Rico. Along the way, Stevie learns hard truths about life, love and loss.