Friday, September 20, 2013
Review: Pattern Crimes
Pattern Crimes by William Bayer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Book Info: Genre: Mystery/Police Procedural
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Fans of twisty mysteries, lots of red herrings, political intrique
Trigger Warnings: murder, torture, conspiracy, attempts to start a war
My Thoughts: This was a great book and an excellent story. There were so many twists and turns and it was almost impossible to figure out what was going on. I certainly had no idea what the denouement would end up revealing. Fans of mysteries and puzzles should absolutely love this.
Written in 1987, in some ways this book has really stood the test of time well. Of course there have been significant world changes in the past decades, but at the same time, murder and mysteries are pretty much the same. I was fascinated by this book being set in Israel, and particularly with the descriptions of the city and the people of the area, and the descriptions of the tourists and events in the city.
I was particularly taken by the love letter to Jerusalem that ends this book. The descriptions are so magical that it made me want to visit and see the place for myself. It sounds like a lovely city. If this book sounds like your sort of thing, don't hesitate to find your own copy.
Disclosure: I picked this book up used several years ago. All opinions are my own.
Synopsis: It begins when the strangely marked body of a young prostitute is found just outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. A similarly disfigured corpse of an American nun turns up. Then an Arab boy. As the list of victims grows, their only apparent connection is the bizarre markings on their bodies; it appears that Israel is facing its first serial murder case.
David Bar-Lev, chief of the Pattern Crimes Unit of the Jerusalem police, is not so sure. A tough yet sensitive investigator with a powerful intelligence and a querying mind, he begins searching for a pattern that will explain the apparently random killings.
At first the disorder is overwhelming, the case unfathomable. But then, as David probes deeper into this particular pattern crime, he is not so sure he wants to understand it. Pieces emerge that suggest that this time the key may lie within his own life. During the course of his investigation he must uncover and confront many painful secrets:
• The mysterious behavior of his father, Avraham, a retired psychoanalyst;
• The tragic suicide of his brother, Gideon, a talented fighter pilot;
• The hidden past of his beautiful Russian lover, the cellist Anna;
• The possibility of corruption within the Jerusalem police and the ultra-secret General Security Services(Shin Bet).
But despite the pain of these and other revelations, David probes on until he finally glimpses his astonishing solution—for, as one cop says of David Bar-Lev, "It is not enough for him to investigate. David has to understand."
The Jerusalem of Pattern Crimes is not the idealized Holy City of the guidebooks. Depicted as the capital of an angry, anguished, torn-up nation, a city of prostitutes, narcotics dealers, lusting journalists, ruthless politicians and zealots of every stripe, it becomes here an arena for a remarkable story of crime and punishment.
This is a book about patterns—in love, in relationships, in politics, in art, in death. And always at the center is David Bar-Lev, one of the most memorable characters in recent crime fiction, relentlessly searching for the pattern that will unlock his case—the pattern he must uncover in order to clarify his vision … of himself, his family, and the country that he loves.
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