HILL OF SECRETS by Michal Hartstein (Review)

Set in contemporary Israel, but not the usual Mossad thriller. This is a straight crime story, a police procedural, featuring Hadas Levinger, a secularist rebel from a traditionally religious family – and also, to compound her parents’ disappointment, a brilliant young lawyer who gave all that up to become a detective with the Israel Police Force.

This case is the first time she has headed an investigation, presumably given to her because at first it seems straightforward. A horrible crime – father, mother and three small children, one still a baby, all shot dead – but it seems clear that the father murdered the others then shot himself. Nothing really to do, except make quite certain that is what happened, that there was no outside murderer still on the loose, and also try to establish what possible motive the father might have had for such an appalling act.

But one thing leads to another, especially when you are investigating a crime like this in a neighbourhood like that …

The best things about this book are the protagonist herself – I was her, from the word go – and the almost soap-opera way we come to know everyone in that neighbourhood and how differently lives are led in the various strata of Israeli society. Fascinating stuff. But sometimes a little overdone when one was dying to get on with the story, to know what happened next.

Still, a very good read for crime novel enthusiasts (I am one), especially if you are interested in life as it is really lived in modern Israel (I am).

Oh, and I forgot to mention the cover. I love that cover!