Liad Shoham’s latest mystery, Asylum City, has a riveting plot — but it’s not a typical thriller. Asylum City is engrossed not only in the crime plot but also in a major social issue facing Israelis, a problem that is in many ways similar to the US immigration problem: what should be the role of border security; what to do with those in the country illegally, and what about the human rights issue? The problem in Israel has arisen from the Eritrean Africans, who are trying to escape persecution by migrating to Israel through the Sinai Peninsula.
The story begins with the murder of activist Michal Poleg in her Tel Aviv apartment. The policewoman assigned to the case, Anat Nachmias, wonders which of the possible suspects could be the perpetrator. Was her killer a disgruntled African immigrant? Or the lawyer she filed a complaint against for causing so many migrants to be deported, or “The Banker” extorting from the migrants as he lends money to them illegally at exorbitant interest rates? The book brings the reader inside to be part of the investigation, as Anat must decide if an “asylum seeker” actually committed the crime, despite his confession.
Anat is a smart, motivated, attractive policewoman armed with a law school degree, who handles herself well in a male-dominated profession, relying on her intelligence and training to succeed. There are other well-developed characters, although the abundance of characters and the similarity of names are at times a bit confusing.
Liad Shoham, the author, is a practicing attorney who uses his job experiences in this fast-paced, riveting novel with engaging characters and an informative storyline.
- Lineup by Liad Shoham
Read Elise Cooper’s interview with Liad Shoham about Asylum City here.