Matt Rees's cunning, atmospheric book about life in the dark labyrinth of Yasser Arafat's Palestinian statelet passes every important test. It absorbs you to the end. It conjures up a world of which most of us know nothing and makes it real and believable, with details discovered from personal experience. Like Eric Ambler, whose main characters are always reassuringly imperfect, Rees is careful to make sure his hero is not too good to be true. Omar Yussef is a history teacher, old and not too well, tempted by the bottle, near the end of his career, unwisely trying to do an honest job in a school system controlled by political gangsters and informers. Yussef's sort of history, cool and truthful, is at odds with the Palestinan authorities who want propaganda and myths about martyrdom. -- Peter Hitchens -- The Mail on Sunday 12/8/2007
The Bethlehem Murders has been nominated for the Crime Writers Association's John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger. Judges' comments: `The intensity and integrity of the novel gave it credibility and placed the crime into its social and political context. The scenes of destruction and terror in Bethlehem are well explored and the characterisation excellent. An excellent debut novel.' -- Crime Writers Association website, June 4, 2008
From the Author
The aim of my fiction is to take real stories I covered as a
journalist and to weave them together to make a single mystery. It's
thrilling crime fiction, but I believe it also gets much closer to the
truth about the Palestinians and the way they live than anything you'll
read in news reports.
The site has audio and video from Bethlehem, including some of the real
locations featured in the book, as well as reviews and interviews.
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