Tuesday, January 20, 2015
When 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, got 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 and criminal syndicates intersect. But the truth may be more than Anat can handle, bringing her face to face with an evil she's never before experienced. -- Harper
ASYLUM CITY by Liad Shoham has received some rave reviews so I decided to share it with my dad. When I read the book's description, it definitely sounded like on he'd enjoy. Here are his thoughts:
Michal Poleg, a passionate young activist volunteer who works to aid the African migrant community in Tel Aviv, learns of information that will adversely impact the migrant community. Before she can inform her director, she is found dead in her apartment by Gabriel Takela, a refugee she’s been helping. Gabriel flees the scene and is quickly apprehended.
Anat Nachmia, Deputy Chief Special Investigations, is assigned the case and quickly antagonizes her superiors when she is reluctant to close the case even after Gabriel confesses. Her problem is that he had no real motive and had little knowledge of the murder scene. As she expands her investigation several suspects arise including a state attorney who prosecutes illegal immigrants and an accountant working for a crime boss who has found a way to take financial advantage of the refugees. Michal, who has a way of rubbing people the wrong way, had filed a charge against the attorney and had tried to expose the illegal lending scheme. Anat finds herself deep into an unfamiliar world where refugees, aid workers, politicians, police and crime syndicates collide. In spite of internal police pressure and the dangerous world she has entered, Anat brings the case to a successful conclusion.
ASYLUM CITY is classified as a murder mystery and is fast paced with several engaging characters; but it is much more. It is a microcosm of the current world problem of refugees. Israeli author Liad Shoham gives the reader an insight into Israeli society as it deals with its African migrant problem. It gives the reader a glimpse of the plight of the refugees and how they are preyed on by others. The one minor complaint I had with the book was the difficulty in differentiating the like-sounding Jewish names. The name confusion did not detract from the story or the excellent translation into English.
I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good murder mystery or is interested in learning more about the African refugee problem in Israel.
Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel and to Booking Pap Pap for his review.