ASYLUM CITY by Liad Shoham


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A taut, engaging Israeli murder mystery from the author of Lineup (2013).

Michal Poleg is a young volunteer working for the Organization for Migrant Aid in Tel Aviv; when Gabriel Takela, an Eritrean she's been helping, finds her dead body in her apartment, he flees the scene and is quickly apprehended. Anat Nachmias, deputy chief of the Special Investigations Unit, should have an easy case on her hands, because Gabriel confesses to the murder. The trouble is, he seems to have no clear motive and doesn’t know all the details a killer should know. So why would Gabriel lie? And if he didn’t kill Michal, who did? The answer is not obvious, and readers will have a good time trying to guess. One of her neighbors tells Anat, “[t]he black ones, that’s all she had eyes for.” Israel is considered a relatively safe place for East Africans seeking asylum from kidnappers and traffickers in child prostitution, although there are Israelis who would like all the migrants to go away. Men like “golden boy” Yariv Ninio and Ehud Regev “built their careers on stoking the flames of hate against Africans.” The book has a strong cast of characters such as Itai, whose job at OMA is to “provide asylum seekers with the bare necessities.” He was close to both Michal and Gabriel, and as far as he was concerned, “a fine young man was in jail.” This well-plotted tale gives readers insight into Israeli law and society and the issue of African migrants in particular. Compliments as well to the translator, who makes the story look as if it were written in English to begin with. 

A treat for mystery fans who enjoy variety in their whodunit settings—or who simply savor a good yarn.

Pub Date: Dec. 9th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-06-223753-8
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2014


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