10 February 2012 0 Comments

Israelis scaring each other

My pal Matthew Kalman just became editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Report, a much-deserved high-profile position for a thoughtful, creative fellow. In the true spirit of log-rolling he asked me to write this week’s cover story. It’s headlined “What Israelis Fear Most.” Needless to say, they don’t fear what you might expect… Well, they do, but […]

30 September 2011 0 Comments

Happy New Year

Frequently Jerusalem hits the headlines because Jews and Muslims do rotten things to each other. They kill; they shoot; they make the most predictable speeches in the history of the United Nations General Assembly, which is not known for spicy dialogue at the best of times. However, there are many benefits to living in a […]

21 July 2011 0 Comments

Do you feel lucky? — Crime writer has a blast, uncovers bloodlust

I’ve tried to do everything the characters in my books do. I’ve roamed the alleys of Bethlehem’s refugee camps. I’ve had clandestine meetings with gunrunners in Gaza. I’ve risked diabetes to eat syrupy Palestinian desserts and made them key to the plot of “The Samaritan’s Secret.” I learned piano for “Mozart’s Last Aria.” I picked […]

21 July 2011 0 Comments

FT: ‘Omar Yussef is one of crime fiction’s most original protagonists’

Adam Lebor, a superb thriller-writer in his own right, picks some top summer thriller reads in the Financial Times this week (where there’s also a big profile of Lee Child). Adam very kindly includes one of my Omar Yussef mysteries, The Saladin Murders (US title: A Grave in Gaza). Here’s what he writes: There are […]

23 June 2011 2 Comments

Unpolished Fleming, Paranoid Mankell

I’ve seen two things in the last week that allowed me to compare something of the way crime writers used to appear in public and their present avatars. It only made me wish for the good old days even more than I used to. The comparison is between: a delightful radio chat on the BBC […]

16 June 2011 9 Comments

The Honest Tours Guide to Jerusalem

The New York Times ran a travel article last weekend about things to do in Jerusalem during the Jewish Sabbath when most things are shut. The article was fairly typical of shorter travel writing in that all the experiences described were unlikely to surprise anyone. Eat hummus at the restaurants. Browse for ceramic bowls. Take […]

1 May 2011 0 Comments

Mideast experts pick my nonfiction book about Israelis, Palestinians

I published “Cain’s Field: Faith, Fratricide, and Fear” in 2004. It’s a nonfiction book about Israeli and Palestinian society, focusing on the internal divisions within each group, rather than the conflict between them which usually gets all the attention. I’ve always been rather proud of it, even as I’ve gone on to write five novels. […]

1 May 2011 4 Comments

My Mozart novel and the intifada

If there had never been a Palestinian intifada, I might never have written my novel about the death of Mozart, MOZART’S LAST ARIA, which is published today in the UK by Corvus. Of course, 4,000 people would also be alive who are now dead. In the course of writing about that destruction between 2000 and […]

17 February 2011 2 Comments

Finding true Mideast reality with kids

It’s always encouraging to meet well-adjusted teenagers (mainly because I wasn’t one.) When they’re Middle Eastern teenagers, it’s inspiring. I met a group of just over a dozen 15-year-olds (some of them may have been older than that, so I hope they aren’t offended when they read this, but when you get as old as […]

16 February 2011 2 Comments

Israel fears its own Giffords shooting

Israeli law enforcement officials, concerned about virulent divisions between left- and right-wing groups in the country, have warned that a political assassination could be imminent. Dudi Cohen, Israel’s police commissioner, told a conference earlier this month that “murder for ideological reasons … could occur in Israel” and that it was “one of the most disturbing […]