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ASYLUM CITY: A Novel ~Internationally Awarded Best Selling author Liad Shoham

Monday, November 17th, 2014

“The Israeli public was indifferent to the problems Itai encountered on a daily basis.” (Page 195 of unproofed advanced copy)

ASYLUM CITY grabs the reader and holds on for dear life. What an amazing thrilling ride thru the underworld of Tel Aviv, politics, law, refugees, deportations and social workers. It is a look at problems that every country is facing right now, pinpointing Israel’s intense problems with the Eritrea-African migration to avoid the death squads in Ethiopia while at the same time being abused by the underworld, mob expectations and blaming. Everyone taking from the vulnerable, depersonalizing, and the exploiting of children; there is an edginess which opens the readers eyes to what is going on in their own country. There is a reveal of anger and hate and blame which clarifies the vision; refusing to solve the problem.

The chapters are very short and move from character to character in a very dynamic fashion allowing one to cope with the difficult sections, keeping the story moving and extremely interesting. I had a bit of trouble keeping the Israeli names straight so needed to make a list of the characters and a note about several as to whom they were related. I could not put the book down so unusual names weren’t too big of a problem at this pace. I would have not chosen this book at a bookstore and I am so glad that TLC Booktours (tour cancelled) sent this unproofed advance copy for me to read. I would never have been able understand the relationship to the Global problems of war and cruelty; the overview of the huge problem facing all the refugees worldwide is caught into a snap shot of one country’s problem. We are all doing the same things and fighting the same reactions and it is definitely not working – anywhere.

I would like to see that more people were reading this recently translated book, discussing and working on understanding and gaining an overview. I was aware of how President Obama has a huge overview and truly leads in understanding the Global perspective, what can he do or accomplish with all the hate and name-calling creating obstruction? Ignorance so often backfires with huge ramifications.

ASYLUM CITY is certainly a discussion starter!

“LIAD SHOHAM is Israel’s leading crime writer and a practicing attorney with degrees from Jerusalem’s’ Hebrew University and the London School of Economics. All of his crime novels (six to date) have been critically acclaimed bestsellers. He lives in Tel Aviv and is married with two children.”

The Contractors 
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena 
The Dressmaker of Khair Khana 
The Lemon Tree 

DIALOGUES OF A CRIME: a Novel ~John K. Manos

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

“Guilt.  A different sense of themselves.  I don’t think there are all that many people who can kill someone and just never think about it again.”

“’It’s not just a matter of chance,’ he said thoughtfully. ‘It’s where you are and the people you’ve got around you too.’  He realized that this line of speculation applied more often than not and in more situations than he cared to acknowledge.”

Dialogues of a Crime starts off with a young college boy being arrested in a drug sweep of college campuses in 1972.   Michael the young man in question is a hard working scholarship student in Illinois who is unjustly sentenced by a judge and an incompetent Public Defender to 30-90 days in a medium security prison. They are determined to teach him a lesson.  Ten days after arrival Michael is brutally beaten and raped by 3 prisoners and spends the remainder of his time to serve in the Infirmary.  As Michael is leaving the prison, he passes the 3 evil perpetrators and suggests that two of the men will experience a gruesome death in the future.

Those gruesome death threats are played out and 20 years later the third perpetrator who was not threatened is hoping to save his skin in another murder case and re-opens the investigation into what happened.  He speculates and accuses.  The State Attorney’s Office sees an opportunity to take down a Chicago area Mafia boss, because Michael’s best friend since 4th grades is the son of this crime family leader.

The majority of the book is the interrogations of all the people involved.  So the book is a series of conversations which happened in 1972, 1994 and 2003. My Kindle Fire HD reader said that it would take me 11 hours to read this book (about 300 pages)   It is the kind of book I dislike so I pushed the accelerator to the floor and finished it in 5 hours.  I know that there are many of my readers who just love this suspenseful kind of story and the psychological underpinnings; how so many ideas become leads and how the information gets interpreted and individual discoveries.   I completed my first internship in a County Sherriff’s office, I worked in a drug rehab center, and I have talked with more rape victims in my counseling work than one can imagine.  It is hard to free my mind of this kind of knowledge and I find no fascination in this particular kind of read.   Dialogues of a Crime reminded me how brutal humans can be to each other.  I had to watch a fun lecture before I could go to bed and find rest.

I am left with the same question that Michael has throughout the book, he asks his Mob friends why they all talk like the mobsters in the movies and what is the point of that imitation?   Yes! What is the point of the stereotypical, imitational language?

tlc logo TLC Online Book Tours shared this PDF copy with me for review.  The psychological interpretations and the investigations are interesting. The writing does not get in the way and was the part I thought was quite good.    It has left me feeling so sad and wrung out; I will let other readers decide for themselves about Dialogues of a Crime.

The Dirty Murder Book
The Accident 
The Condor Song
The Contractors