Julia Dahl’s latest and second novel which centers on the Ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Jewish neighborhoods and people in the New York area, Run You Down, is just as eye opening and well written as her first, Invisible City. Our protagonist is a Jewish reporter raised by a Christian dad after her Jewish mother left them, who unknowingly gets embroiled in murders in this very closed and secretive community. As Rebekah learns about Hasidic Jewish customs and life, so does the reader.
Rebekah’s missing mother tells her tale in alternating chapters as her daughter runs around New York trying to solve the mystery of a woman who may or may not have been murdered. It seems everyone from the police to the Jewish community have closed ranks to keep the truth from coming to light.
The main character, Rebekah, is young and suffering from depression and anxiety. She constantly questions herself. So much so that often I wanted to yell at her to knock it off and get serious about what was going on — just as I would for any 25 year old woman going through these life changing events. Dahl writes real characters involved in very interesting times. This mystery has it all — plot, setting and well-done characters.
My rating 5 of 5.
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With Parks fourth book about Carter Ross, ace reporter for a Newark, NJ, newspaper, I found a predictable mystery – but who cares! Parks is funny, clever and entertaining as he takes his hero in search of a cop killer. The attraction in Park’s novels is Ross and his somewhat unrealistic but still fun adventures.
At first the police say that the dead cop committed suicide but Ross thinks differently. After all, why would a man with a job he loved, a beautiful and adoring family, and plans to go to Disneyland suddenly kill himself – and in the police station shower nonetheless!
The minor characters are some of the book’s high points with an intern who Ross uses and abuses, a boss who wants to have Ross’ baby and sources who are just short of ridiculous. The story is original even though it is the typical reporter who solves the crime story – a summer read to make you smile.
Parks’ debut, Faces of the Gone (2009), won the Nero Award for Best American Mystery and the Shamus Award for Best First Mystery. In doing so, Parks became the first author in the combined 60-year history of the Nero and the Shamus to win both awards for the same book. And The Good Cop won the Shamus Award for Best Novel in 2014.
I am going to go back and read all the Carter Ross series (there are 6 as of today). If you like to take a break sometimes from the violence and dark side of mystery novels, give Brad Parks a chance to amuse you with his fine writing.
My rating: 5 out of 5