3 December 2008 0 Comments

Booklist: Rees goes three for three with latest Omar Yussef Mystery

Booklist, the US pre-publication review, gives a starred review to my forthcoming Palestinian crime novel, THE SAMARITAN’S SECRET, the third in my Omar Yussef series. Here’s the review:
Rees makes it three for three with his latest Omar Yussef mystery. This time the Bethlehem history teacher is in strife-torn Nablus to attend the wedding of a family friend. Nablus is home to the small Samaritan community, which follows its ancient traditions in the midst of the ongoing violence between Palestinians and Israelis. Yussef, ever the historian, jumps at the chance to visit the Samaritan synagogue and learn more about their beliefs, but he is quickly engulfed in a murder investigation. One of the Samaritans, a young man who worked for Arafat (“the old president”) and controlled millions of the leader’s under-the-table money, has been murdered, and the funds are missing. Yussef throws himself into the daunting task of following the money and thus stopping the World Bank from cutting off aid to Palestine. As in The Collaborator of Bethlehem (2007) and A Grave in Gaza (2008), Rees not only offers a perceptive look at complex international political issues but also help us to understand those issues in the context of everyday lives—of Palestinians attempting to dodge bullets coming in all directions (from Israelis but also from rival factions within their own country) and carry on with the business of falling in love, marrying, raising children. Constantly at risk from all manner of idealists with guns, Yussef soldiers on, his concern for individual human lives standing in stark contrast to the world around him. — Bill Ott

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