Monday, November 17, 2014

Review: Asylum City by Liad Shoham

Title: Asylum City
Author: Liad Shoham
Year Published: 2014

Genre: Adult Mystery
Pages: 319
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2014 Google Reading map): Israel

FTC Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher

Summary (from the back of the book): When the young social activist Michal Poleg is found dead in her Tel Aviv apartment, her body showing signs of severe violence, officer Anat Nachmias is given the lead on her first murder investigation. Eager to find answers, the talented and sensitive cop looks to the victim's past for clues, focusing on the last days before her death. Could one of the asylum seekers Michal worked with be behind this crime?

Then a young African man confesses to the murder, and Anat's commanders say the case is closed. But the cop isn't convinced. She believes that Michal, a tiny girl with a gift for irritating people, became involved in something far too big and dangerous for her to handle. Joined by Michal's clumsy yet charming boss, Anat is pulled deep into a perplexing shadow world, where war victims and criminals, angels and demons, idealists and cynics, aid organizations ands criminal syndicates, intersect. But the truth maybe more than Anat can handle, bringing her face-to-face with an evil she's never before experienced.

Review: Combining my love of books set outside the United States and a good mystery, this one is a winner! I have never read a book set in Israel that was written by an Israeli so that was an added pleasure.

This didn't feel like a typical murder mystery because I felt like I was learning so much as I read it. The author did a great job of making me "see" Tel Aviv through the eyes of the characters. I got a variety of viewpoints as different characters narrated the chapters: the racist Israeli who wants the asylum seekers to go back to Eritrea; the police who deal with the poverty and crime associated with illegal immigrants; and the activists who work to protect the asylum seekers.

The mystery itself is also well done. So many different people had motive to kill Michal that I really wasn't able to figure it out until just pages before the author revealed it all. I like that I didn't have it all figured out ahead of time and that it was a good solution.

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