The Jerusalem File is a bleak thriller set in modern day Jerusalem about isolated and alienated people, rife with illusions and deception. A retired security-services officer, Levin, lives alone and spends his days tracking for various clients; one day, a casual friend asks him to track a beautiful woman named Deborah, the friend's ex-wife, whom the friend is convinced is having an affair. Naturally, Levin becomes fascinated with her and the plot thickens from there.
The only truth that exists in these characters' world is love; everything else is up for grabs as Levin finds out as he becomes more and more involved with this couple and their desperate lives. Suddenly, the man believed to be Deborah's lover is killed, and what little truth Levin has relied on so far is called into question.
Joel Stone's book is a taut pageturner shot through with sadness and loneliness; traumas new and old shape the story and the characters' lives, testing their strengths and their weaknesses as they try to connect with each other and themselves:
Levin put the gun away, under his jacket. Not enough nerve. Maybe, in the last instance, of not enough love. He left Joseph and walked back through the corridor, not glancing at the stranded shells in their wheelchairs. He felt very lucky. Deborah would be coming to him at the end of the week, which was something to look forward to. In Jerusalem, that was all you could ask for.I enjoyed The Jerusalem File; it's a short book that reads quickly, and a great example of crime fiction that is both gritty and approachable for the non-genre reader. Sadly, Stone passed away in 2007. I think genre fans, literary fiction readers and readers interested in portraits of modern Israeli life would enjoy this off-the-beaten-path novel about what people will do for love.
More in my Publisher Spotlight series on Europa Editions:
- Introduction to the Series,
- Tuesday: Interview with editor-in-chief Michael Reynolds,
- Wednesday: Review of Heliopolis, by James Scudamore, nominated for the Man Booker Prize,
- Thursday: Interview with James Scudamore.
- Monday: Review of The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine, by Alina Bronsky, due out next month,
- Tuesday: Interview with Alina Bronsky,
- Wednesday: Review of Hygiene and the Assassin, by Amélie Nothomb,
- Thursday: Review of The Jerusalem File, by Joel Stone.