I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All of the opinions expressed are my own.
Oranit Crossed Lines, by Michael Benjamin, is a skilled tale of intrigue, collaboration and mystery in Israel. The story follows Jeannie, a former military security expert, as she tracks down the details of a murder case that has been reopened. A bullet has been discovered in a place that it should not have been, based on the village’s knowledge of a murder that happened two years earlier. Suddenly many questions are raised about the murder of Mahmud, and its aftermath. It is Jeannie’s responsibility to find out what really did happen, but there are many people in the village of Oranit who do not want the complex truth to come to light. One of them is Jeannie’s own father.
Although I don’t have a lot of background in Israeli history, Dr. Benjamin did such a nice job with the exposition that I was able to follow the complex story without confusion. His explanations of the conflicts in the area, especially with the Palestinians, were fascinating and informative. Necessary information was supplied through Jeannie’s musings or through discussions between the characters. I rarely felt that the exposition was gratuitous. The descriptions of the countryside were intriguing and beautiful. It was easy to see, from Dr. Benjamin’s portrayal, why people would want to settle in the area known as Oranit. The characters are also wonderfully written; I felt as if I knew each character, his strengths, and his foibles. His characterizations of the veterans of the wars were particularly poignant and realistic.
The deeper that Jeannie delved into the mystery, and the more facts that came to light, the more captivated I became. I was especially intrigued by the relationships that were unveiled between Jeannie and the men in her life: her boss, her husband, her father, and even her son. The plot twists kept me reading and turning pages as Jeannie uncovered more and more secrets about the people she knew and their shared history, and the secret behind the death of Mahmud and of others. The ending was a surprise, yet it all made sense when it was over. Reading Oranit: Crossed Lines has made me want to learn more about this rich period in history. If you are looking for a story of fascinating story of deception, conspiracy and mystery, this is the story for you.