Robert Rotenberg

In the vast landscape of crime fiction, where detectives jostle for space on the bookshelves of mystery enthusiasts, Robert Rotenberg and his Ari Greene detective series stand out as a testament to the enduring allure of the genre. With each installment, Rotenberg weaves intricate plots, rich character development, and a deep understanding of human nature to create a compelling narrative tapestry that keeps readers eagerly turning pages. His latest offering, What We Buried, is no exception, adding another layer of depth to the already captivating world of Ari Greene.

A person in a suit

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At the heart of Rotenberg’s series is Detective Ari Greene, a complex and relatable protagonist who navigates the gritty streets of Toronto with a blend of intelligence, tenacity, and a touch of vulnerability. Greene is not your stereotypical flawless hero; he grapples with personal demons, ethical dilemmas, and the pressures of his job, making him all the more human and compelling. It’s this authenticity that sets Rotenberg’s series apart, drawing readers into a world where the line between right and wrong is often blurred, and justice comes at a cost.

In Rotenberg’s newest crime thriller, a Toronto homicide detective, Daniel Kennicott, is drawn to Italy where he comes dangerously close to the truth of his parents’ and brother’s deaths. Daniel journeys to Gubbio, Italy, discovering unexpected involvement from his mentors, Detectives Ari Greene and Nora Bering, who warn him of looming dangers. As Daniel unearths his family’s dark connection to Gubbio, Ari Greene pursues a killer within their midst. Set against the backdrop of Italy’s haunting wartime past, and inspired by true events (Forty Martyrs), What We Buried is a riveting tale of vendetta, familial bonds, and the enduring echoes of history. 

Gubbio, improbable and exciting - Ville in Blog

One of the hallmarks of Rotenberg’s writing is his ability to create multi-dimensional characters that feel like old friends by the time readers reach the final page. From Greene’s loyal protege, Daniel Kennicott, to his newest detectives on the force, each character is fleshed out with care and attention to detail, adding depth and complexity to the narrative. Even minor characters are given moments to shine, imbuing the story with a richness and authenticity that is often lacking in lesser crime fiction. My favourite is Ari’s dad – both Grandpa Y and my dad were shoe repair men. Both lived unspeakable trauma from their war wounds. We finally get a glimpse into Grandpa Y’s history as he entrusts his granddaughter with his painful past. 

Beyond its compelling characters and intricate plot, What We Buried also serves as a meditation on the nature of truth and the lengths to which people will go to protect their secrets. Rotenberg deftly explores themes of guilt, redemption, and the consequences of actions, challenging readers to confront their own moral compasses and consider the weight of their decisions.

A plate of pasta with cheese and broccoli

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Added to his writing career and criminal law practice, Robert loves to cook in his spare (!) time. On a personal note, it never ceases to amaze me the kindness and willingness of authors to share not only their stories but personal connection to the food world. Robert teased me for many months about a tomato sauce (you’ll have to read the book!) but instead came up with a delightful Broccoli Pasta dish to be found in our Recipe section.  Here’s how that came to be:

One writer who sprang to mind when I was asked to write about food and a favourite recipe, was Andrea Camilleri and his wonderful Montalbano Series set in modern-day Sicily. Camilleri is in ways my hero, because he only started writing his bestselling series when he was in his mid-70s, because his short precise murder mysteries deal with real and difficult issues, because he always makes me laugh out loud, but most of all because of the food

Montalbano’s passion for authentic Sicilian food is a theme that runs through the whole series.  The island is famous for its fruit and vegetables, and they use vegetables extensively in their dishes. Unlike the Italian cuisine of other regions, it is common to find foods such as plates of pasta that instead of having the classic tomato sauce feature other types of sauces. 

I first got the idea of making broccoli pasta when I watched this scene in one of my favourite episodes. Montalbano is dropping in on a potential witness, who is in the midst of making broccoli pasta, using his mother’s recipe. He offers Montalbano a taste, which at first he refuses. Then…” 

Montalbano On Location - Unforgettable Sicily | MHz Choice Blog

Robert Rotenberg’s Ari Greene detective series continues to captivate audiences with its blend of suspense, intrigue, and human drama. What We Buried is a worthy addition to the series, delivering all the twists and turns readers have come to expect from Rotenberg’s masterful storytelling. Whether you’re a longtime fan of the series or new to the world of Ari Greene, this latest installment is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end. Purchase a copy of this book (and any others in the series you missed!) at or go to our Giveaway section to win a copy of this compelling read.

Contents and images used with permission by Simon & Schuster and Robert Rotenberg