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Asylum City    by Liad Shoham Amazon.com order for
Asylum City
by Liad Shoham
Order:  USA  Can
Harper, 2014 (2014)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

The United States is not the only country with an immigration problem. Israel is flooded with asylum seekers from Africa. These people are begging not to be sent back to their home countries where they believe they will be killed if made to leave the place they have struggled so hard to reach.

In Asylum City by Liad Shoham, we see the problem from two sides. The refugee's perspective as well as that of authorities who are overwhelmed by the numbers pouring into their country each with their own tale of woe as well as the desperate need for shelter, food and jobs.

A young social activist is brutally murdered. This woman was determined to save those in danger of death after being deported to their home country. But local officials simply wanted the problem to go away. There were many who breathed a sigh of relief when she was murdered. No more confrontations with her. Now the question is who killed her?

Anat Nachmias, a female police officer, is handed her first murder case. The powers that be feel she won't be able to solve the murder. She's only a woman, after all! When a young African refugee confesses to the crime, Anat is at first relieved, but then is struck by premonitions that the man is lying. But if he wasn't the killer, why would he confess?

Anat wants to close this case not only because she would like the solve on her record but also because she feels there is more to the murder than meets the eye. An underground web of angels and demons, aid organizations and criminal syndicates, war victims, idealists and cynics is just waiting to be sorted out. Is that at all possible? Anat isn't sure what she can accomplish pretty much on her own, but she sure is going to try.

Asylum City is a compelling story that I do so hope is pure fiction. But I fear it is not and that the author is pulling from fact to write his tale. Life is never easy. However, these refugees' appalling lifestyle is tragic. The greed that circles these blighted people robs them of their last monies and leaves them destitute while those in charge build their nest eggs.

Asylum City is the author's sixth novel. Each one has been critically acclaimed. He lives in Tel Aviv. It is evident that he loves his city but recognizes its shortfalls.

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