2 November 2006 0 Comments

Library Journal Loves It

The first pre-publication review for The Collaborator of Bethlehem, the Omar Yussef Mystery to be published in the US on February 1 by Soho Press, is out. And Library Journal loves it! The influential magazine gave my book a “Starred Review.” Here it is, reprinted with permission:

“In this outstanding debut, Rees, formerly the Jerusalem bureau chief for Time magazine and author of Cain’s Field: Faith, Fratricide, and Fear in the Middle East , presents modern-day Bethlehem, an ancient city of tremendous historical and religious significance, torn apart by constant attacks and reprisals between Israelis and Palestinians. Even the police chief is a former terrorist, now so sodden with drink that he is seemingly unable or unwilling to stand up to daily violence and corruption spawned by the Martyrs Brigade, a gang of thugs who are the city’s de-facto rulers. Enter Omar Yussef, a longtime schoolteacher now at a UN school for refugees, perhaps the last man of conscience in the war-weary city. When a favorite ex-student, a Christian Palestinian, is arrested and charged with collaborating with the Israelis, Yussef must investigate to save his life, even if it means endangering his own. Yussef is a compelling hero with a strong moral core; despite his advanced age and infirmity, he doggedly pursues justice. Evoking a strong sense of place, this nontraditional mystery is bleak, philosophical, and powerful; an excellent addition to any collection.”

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