The Bethlehem Murders: A Novel Hardcover – Jun 14 2007
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"* 'Matt Rees takes a complex world of culture clash and suspicion and places upon it humanity.' David Baldacci * 'A beautifully written story. I have walked the streets of Bethlehem with Omar Yussef, smelled the dust and the fear, tasted his food, shared his anger and his hope. His decency is a light in the gloom. I shall not forget him.' Anne Perry * 'The best - and the rarest - sort of mystery: exciting and compelling, but it is also deeply moving.' David Liss"
About the Author
Matt Rees was born and raised in South Wales. He has covered the Middle East as a journalist for a decade and is currently Time magazine's Jerusalem bureau chief and the author of the non-fiction work Cain's Field: Faith, Fratricide, and Fear in the Middle East. The Bethlehem Murders is his first novel. Matt Rees's website is: www.mattbeynonrees.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
If I had stopped at, say, half the book and thown it away, I would have rated it with one star: at the beginning it's almost simple-minded. But luckily I was dogged, and the reading got better and better.
I won't retell the plot that's summarized in the "Product description" of the Editorial Revs of this page because, frankly, there isn't much more to tell. You have to read it to enjoy its atmosphere. You'll find some genuine glimpses of undistorted Arab culture told in a disarming, almost cozy way. You'll find, to your surprise, that even such an ineffective fellow as Omar Yussef can trap criminals. You'll discover that the story development, that seems so straightforward (and that, alas, is marred by some improbable coincidences and some hardly believable actions), rewards you with a final twist.
And, most important of all, you'll become aware of how life can somehow go on, and not just grimly, but with all its common joys and sorrows, under three opressions: the Israeli "occupiers", the Palestinian "martyrs", and the Muslim majority discrimination against the minority Christians. I can't vouch for the veracitiy of Rees' descriptions, but this book made me rethink my whole position on the Israeli-Palestinian question. Perhaps Rees wouldn't (couldn't?) write that way for a newspaper, but I now realize the extent of the crap -from both sides- we may be fed with each morning.
If "atmospherically true", this is an enlightening -the more so because unexpectedly-, although not a memorable crime, book. For atmo then, four stars; and two as a whodunit. Let's compromise, but buy it.
Yes, yes, the book is published with different names. Different names in Britain and the US...just like the first Harry Potter book. Live with it.