By Julia Dahl
Minotaur Books, 2014
Rebekah Roberts has recently moved from Florida to New York City to become a journalist. She’s in her early 20s and finds work at the New York Tribune, a tabloid that seems a lot like the Post, as a stringer where she is assigned a story about a dead woman found in a Brooklyn scrap yard. The dead woman turns out to be part of the Hasidic community in Borough Park, Brooklyn, the same neighborhood where Rebekah’s mother, who left Rebekah with her father when she was a baby, grew up. As Rebekah digs deeper into the story surrounding the dead woman, Rivka Mendelssohn, Rebekah’s career and personal life are impacted in ways she could never expect.
This book provides a look into the world of a struggling young journalist who calls in stories to editors who type them up and get them into the paper. It is also a window into the Hasidic culture, as Rebekah becomes determined to find out what happened to Rivka and who killed her. There is a coincidence in the opening few chapters, which I won’t reveal, but that you have to accept for the story to work. I was willing to do so and the book really takes off as Rebekah gets more enmeshed in solving the story of Rivka’s death. Told in the first person, Rebekah is an open and sympathetic narrator, who struggles with anxiety and the wounds of losing contact with her mother at a young age. The story also provides an interesting look at Hasidic culture, and explores both why people make the choice to live an Orthodox life and also what the options are for those who doubt their faith. This is a unique crime/mystery novel.
Dahl is a crime reporter who lives in New York City.
I received an e-copy of this book via NetGalley.