cover image Asylum City

Asylum City

Liad Shoham, trans. from the Hebrew by Sara Kitai. Harper, $25.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-223753-8

Israeli author Shoham follows his U.S. debut, 2013’s Lineup, with another triumph, a crime novel that shares characters with the earlier book. When Michal Poleg, an activist for the rights of illegal African immigrants, is found murdered in her Tel Aviv apartment, strong evidence implicates one of the very people she had been helping, Gabriel Takela, who was seen fleeing her home right after the murder. Unwilling to go along with the easy answer to the case, Insp. Anat Nachmias digs deeper and antagonizes her superiors, who hope to wrap things up quickly. Anat’s investigation and its effects on others’ lives are shown from the nuanced perspectives of a state prosecutor, who’s afraid that he may have killed his former lover without remembering the act, and an accountant working for a crime lord who has developed a new way to take advantage of the African community. The author movingly depicts the plight of African immigrants in Israel without being heavy-handed. Agent: Jonny Geller, Curtis Brown (U.K.). (Dec.)