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Reviews and Testimonials for Murder Over the Border
"The first reviewer of this book at Amazon wrote:
I enjoyed this. Surprises abound and Mr. Steinitz captures the Israeli character well. look forward to Yossi's next adventure."
"A recent reviewer wrote:
This story, while set a few years ago, is exceptionally timely in the context of current events. It is well written, gives a wonderful sense of place, and engages the reader in a real suspense thriller, while offering a hopeful view of cooperation. Definitely a first-class read!"
"This is an exciting novel of intrigue and terror. Murder over the Border by Richard Steinitz reflects the author's knowledge of Israel and Palestine and a fine sense of what it takes to keep a reader turning the pages.
Yossi, a commander in the Jerusalem Police Department is serving a yearly stint in the Israeli military. At his outpost on the Jordanian border, he photographs a murder in Jordan, before suffering a head injury and nearly forgetting the crime. But, in this part of the world, little remains secret or hidden for long. The eyes and ears of spies and security forces for both the Israeli's and the Palestinian Authority are everywhere. Soon, the forces behind the murder show up in Yossi's life. The protagonists faces challenges to his work and his life, but continues to pursue the connection of the crime in his photograph to efforts for peace and efforts to disrupt peace in the area.
The actors in this middle east drama are loveable, but can't afford to be soft. Readers get a knowledgeable look at the inside of negotiations, the culture of the region, and the painful conflicts the people endure. Yet Mr. Steinitz does not take sides. The evildoers in this novel are the extremists on either side. The heroes are those who love life and family more than conflict. This is a fine novel of intrigue and action, but also an informative and thoughtful look at the often ignored world of moderate actors in this arena. I strongly recommend that you read this book. "
"Richard Steinitz spins an exciting yarn about an Israeli policeman who, through a series of accidents (both physical and otherwise) finds himself at the centre of an international murder mystery, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and a counter-espionage case to protect it. A true page-turner, the reader becomes quickly attached to both the characters and plot as the story unfolds. Steinitz writes in a gripping style; easy to digest yet strong in delivery.
The plot arc is well-composed and easy to follow. The three main lines tie together very neatly, and it is those intersecting moments which keep the reader anxiously engaged with the story. While Steinitz paints a broad picture, it remains easy to track throughout. A true pleasure to read.
It is clear that this book is more than just a murder mystery or spy thriller; Steinitz is also telling us about the country he loves. Israel is another character in the story. The book is all the more compelling due to Steinitz's descriptions of the landscape, its fauna, and the day-to-day tidbits about life in Israel such as the escape which Israeli men enjoy once a year in the army reserve, the spontaneous ebbs and flows of government work, and Israeli attitudes towards matters as big as the peace process or as small as which sort of falafel is best.
The book is fun to read, and offers a different angle to Israeli life than one normally gets from the usual sources. An excellent debut for Steinitz who, I hope, is working on further developing the interesting characters introduced in `Murder over the Border'. "
"This is an enjoyable detective story written by Richard Steinitz, a veteran of the Israeli forces. The book is based on the writer's own experiences within Israeli society. It is meticulously narrated through the eyes of 'Yossi', an detective living in Jerusalem.
Yossi is an unusual and likeable character, shrewd, slightly disabled, and with a cultured mindset, (his hobby is nature photography). He takes us on a serpentine trail through the secret negotiations between the Israeli government and the PLO, who are trying to reach a peace settlement.
As the writer points out, there is no straight division between the good guys and the bad guys, and Steinitz is at pains to show the fundamental decency of the Israeli policeman, and you sense the urge to show his country in a positive light. This is a not a criticism, Steinitz certainly succeeds in showing the real human element of the situation in Israel, the secret deals going on on both sides of the border, and the everyday lives of guys like Yossi, and the equivalent law enforcement personnel on the other side of the border, hard working dedicated men and women working within law and in politics.
The plot is relatively straightforward, Yossi is preoccupied with tracking down a man he witnessed killing another across the Jordanian border. Yossi's life changes dramatically when he falls down a steep precipice after the event, and is permanently injured. This leads him to a boring desk job which in turn creates another event, when Yossi is shot in Amsterdam during a conference. He then moves to a more exciting role as the assistant to the Prime Minister's aide, becoming involved in high level, secret talks with the PLO. Meanwhile he continues to conduct his own secret inquiry into the murder of the man who he accidentally photographed being shot.
The action is set in mainly in Jerusalem, and there is much pleasure to be gleaned from the writer's well written narrative, including the depiction of the ancient Biblical surroundings and the routine lives going on inside the walled city.
Significant details are peppered throughout the novel. Yossi's friend and collaborator Arieh who works for the Mossad (Israeli Secret Service) worries about his personal safety when he decides to quit the organisation. A telling detail.
Then there are the humorous touches, such as the delightful contradiction when Yossi and Arieh happen upon the long dead corpse of an Arab soldier. Being good Israelis, (and even though Arieh is an Atheist) they take pains to bury the body with dignity, even while staking out the territory with the intention of abducting an Arab suspect for questioning.
These are many such moments that serve to enrich the text, defining the character of life in Israel, and the surrounding territories. Part of the enjoyment of the novel comes from the settings. Steinitz provides us with intimate details about a rich and varied landscape, from the ancient alleyways and streets of Jerusalem to the arid desert.
There are some intriguingly intricate passages, descriptions of time spent by Yossi in the photography studio where he lovingly develops photos from his camera, or the target practice at the gun range, where Yossi tries alternate shooting positions, with attention to posture and distance. These technical episodes are lightly carved out in the text, detailed but never laborious, which is a gift for a technophobe like me! This means the novel should appeal to men and and women alike.
I particularly enjoyed the writer's descriptions of the Israeli diet, small but significant details that show the environment and culture of Jerusalem, such as the small detail that Yossi prefers his Falafel made from Egyptian ful beans instead of chick peas. Or the fact that chicken is readily available whereas lamb or mutton is longer used for Yossi's beloved Shwarma.
You also learn of the natural community friendliness of the Israelis for one another, (something I personally remember from time spent there in the 1980's). Yossi's right hand man, Dan, who starts out as his driver, develops into a close friend.
Overall, the book is well written and elegantly constructed, even if it occasionally reads like a primer for understanding Israeli - Palestinian relationships. It has the traditional style of storytelling, where the nuances of conversation and friendship are equally important to the dramatic turn of events.
I would highly recommend this book to any reader interested in the true face of Israel. The writer, through his laid-back protagonist Yossi, gives us a meaningful insight into Israeli people. We see a glimpse of the real Israel, instead of the warped stereotype we so often receive in the Western media.
An important and enjoyable book, well worth reading. "
"Breathtaking suspense and mystery drives this oversees thriller. My complete concentration and attention got lost in this alternate realistic world, which most of us never get a chance to experience. The author sparked my imagination allowing me to dive into the elaborate and rich storyline to thoroughly enjoy. "