This high-stakes thriller — the second of three titles in the Dotan Naor Thriller series, but the first to be translated into English — takes its protagonist, a former Israeli security operative now working as a private detective, far outside of his usual terrain. It’s not Israel or Israel’s neighboring states that Naor visits on his mission, but the Far East: India, the disputed Kashmir region, and other Asian nations touched by the Himalayas.
Naor has agreed to find the missing son of an acquaintance who has made millions as a cutthroat Israeli arms merchant. Willy Mizrachi’s son, Itiel, is seeking peace at an ashram in the Himalayas, a region popular with young Israelis. In his father’s eyes, Itiel’s goals are worthless, yet Willy believes he’s redeemable, or at least persuadable. He wants him back home.
In this story, the Himalayas are also home to a formidable Islamic extremist population that is not only at odds with the long-established, dominant non-western religions, but ready to attack Israelis wherever they are found. One such terrorist target is the Chabad House in Manali, India.
One of the novel’s chief strengths lies in the likability of Naor, who is at once hard-boiled and subtle, shrewd and fallible. Its fundamental attraction, however, is Zur’s ability to describe the fabulous places that his plot rolls through, creating a fantastic kaleidoscope of scenery, neighborhoods, and tastes. He has written a fast-paced and suspenseful story while seamlessly imparting a striking series of unique impressions about the book’s faraway setting.
Philip K. Jason is professor emeritus of English at the United States Naval Academy. A former editor of Poet Lore, he is the author or editor of twenty books, including Acts and Shadows: The Vietnam War in American Literary Culture and Don’t Wave Goodbye: The Children’s Flight from Nazi Persecution to American Freedom.