Monday, September 7, 2015

Book Review: Dark Waters by Chris Goff

Dark Waters by Chris Goff hits the shelves on September 15, 2015, and is published by Crooked Lane Books. Chris Goff is a Colorado author who has written a successful cozy series. She decided to branch out to write a thriller, and she jumped right in with both feet. I am an avid traveler, both in real life and in my armchair (by reading a good book that takes place in an exotic locale). I recently took a trip to Israel and found the country and its history fascinating. I wanted to read Dark Waters because it’s set in Israel, and I wanted to return to a place where I had such a wonderful experience.

Israel and Palestine have had a dark and troubled relationship. Dark Waters enters that strained and politically charged atmosphere with a story about Ben Taylor and his daughter Lucy, who are witnesses to a shooting in a public square. They escape the incident unscathed, but it becomes clear that they are now the targets of the people responsible for killing Cline, a security officer working for the American Embassy, in the square. The problem is, they don’t know why they are now a target.

Raisa Jordan, who was sent to Tel Aviv to replace Cline prior to his death, becomes involved and is put in charge of the safety of Taylor and his daughter, both American citizens. Jordan becomes an unlikely ally of a woman named Ganani, who is an Israeli with an unknown mission, past, and employer. It is unclear whether the women’s interests and goals are fully aligned, but they both realize that working together will put them closer to figuring out what’s going on than butting heads. What follows is the investigation into a terrorist plot that pits the Israelis and Palestinians against each other once again.

I really enjoyed returning to Israel, even if it was only in the pages of this book. To tell you the truth, if the events in this book were true, I would much rather be on this side of the world. Israel and Palestine have conflicting claims to the same land and the tension that is a result of this conflict is very real. Goff manages to bring the charged atmosphere of the division to the story, without taking sides or laying blame. Its premise is a scary, but accurate portrayal of something that I wouldn’t be surprised to see in the news.

Her description of Israel and Palestine, and the people who live there is well done. The walls, the checkpoints, and the armed military are an ever present force dividing the two areas, but the history and culture are beautiful and fascinating. The book is a thriller with a political focus, but the characters and the people of Israel and Palestine were just as much front and center. It was a very good read.

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