The Dead Sister
- Author: Jonathan Dunsky
- Genre: Mystery
- Publication Date: September 30, 2016
- Publisher: Independently Published
- Series: Adam Lapid Mysteries #2
Thank you to the author for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
CONTENT WARNING: murder, violence, blood, Holocaust imagery, gore, description of an anti-Jewish riot (pogrom), mention of rape, mention of sexual abuse, gun violence
The police don’t want to catch the killer. So he’ll have to.
Tel Aviv, 1949 – A young Arab woman lies murdered in the city morgue and no one seems to care. The newspapers won’t report it. The police won’t investigate. No one is trying to solve the case.
Except one man.
Private detective Adam Lapid is the only one investigating the murder. And he won’t rest until the killer is off the streets.
Adam’s investigation soon plunges him into a sordid underworld of crime and depravity. An underworld that hides a ruthless killer with a twisted mind.
To catch the murderer, Adam must use all his skills. And if he’s not careful, he’ll be the one who ends up dead next.
I really enjoyed reading book 1 in this series, so when the author offered to provide me with a copy of the second book, I jumped at the chance. This one was also quite heavy in tone, but it focused on a much different area. While the first book focused on people who were directly affected by the Holocaust, this book delved right into Jewish and Arab tensions immediately after the Israeli War of Independence, a difficult time for the new country. The story is also well-researched and full of details about post-Independence Israel.
Adam is approached by Ahmed, an Arab man who wants him to investigate the murder of his sister. Although the police had been notified, no progress appears to have been made, and Ahmed doesn’t know where to turn to get the answers he wants. While tensions run high between Arab and Israeli people on both sides, cooperation isn’t guaranteed. There seems to be strong divisions in society, with little interaction between the two groups, but it spoke to a lot about Adam’s character that he was open to working with Ahmed. As someone who has both been on the receiving end of extreme prejudice and fought in a war against the Arabs, he could easily have turned away. But his sense of justice pushes him to take on the case and give it his all, even when it places him in danger.
However, the case turns out to be a lot more convoluted than he expected. In addition, it stirs up even more of Adam’s trauma. We delve more into Adam’s feelings about his family and his wife, all of whom were murdered at Auschwitz, and how he copes with his losses. More accurately, since there weren’t any mental health services available or even a name for his trauma, his coping skills are extremely limited, although he does manage to develop some close relationships with others. I loved seeing his bonds with the few people in his circle, and while he keeps them at arm’s length a lot of the time, he is still very protective of them, which makes perfect sense. One person shows up in this story, and they push him to open up more about his own experiences and work to break down his barriers and get more vulnerable with them, even as they get more vulnerable with him. It felt like a turning point for him.
This is another fast paced story with a lot of twists and turns. There were plot twists that I definitely didn’t see coming, and although I was trying to figure out who was behind the murder, I definitely didn’t anticipate what was actually going on until it was all spelled out for me. Dunsky has a talent for weaving clues into a riveting storyline and hitting readers with a surprising reveal towards the end, then wrapping everything else up perfectly, while leaving us ready for the next book.
People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.
Gasp Factor: 5
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