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The Lie

The Lie [Kindle Edition]

Hesh Kestin
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description


Not a single word is wasted in Kestin's masterfully wrought and mercilessly readable novel of intrigue, and terror. The Lie's political, cultural, and personal insights are matched only by its breathtaking action and suspense. Quite simply, the best thriller I've read in ages. --Jonathan Evison, New York Times-bestselling author of West of Here and All About Lulu

A page-turner that will engage your mind and emotions in a way few novels do … I started reading; I ended up experiencing. The Lie is what great fiction is all about. --Stephen King

Product Description

Dahlia Barr does not suffer fools — or her own government, with which she is normally at odds. Shrewd, brash, and tough, she is a successful Israeli attorney who specialises in defending Palestinians accused of terrorism. One day, to her great surprise, the national police approach Dahlia with a proposition: join us and become the government’s arbiter on when to use the harshest of interrogation methods — what some would call torture. Dahlia is intrigued: as someone who has no intention of permitting torture, can she change the system from within?

Then, as Dahlia settles into her new job, her son Ari, a twenty-year-old lieutenant in the Israel Defense Forces, is kidnapped by Hezbollah and tortured. The one man who may hold the key to Ari’s rescue is Edward Al-Masri, a professor and activist who has a long and complicated history with Dahlia. Edward is locked in a cell in police headquarters, and he’s not talking. Yet.

The Lie is a nail-biting thriller, pulsing with insight into the inner workings of Israel’s security apparatus. It is an unforgettable story of human beings on both sides of the terror equation whose lives turn out to have more in common than they could have ever imagined.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 483 KB
  • Print Length: 204 pages
  • Publisher: Scribe Publications (25 Jun 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #10,747 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
This isn’t a lengthy book, standing at just over 200 pages long and some chapters at only half a page and yet it still took me about three days to read.

The reason being that my political and religious knowledge around the area I was reading about is extremely limited so I was reading slowly in order that I understood what was behind the actions that were being taken in the book.

Bearing that in mind though, I thoroughly enjoyed the novel. The story is well told and does not rely on long explanations or descriptions to keep your focus. It says what it needs to say and moves on, and even in such a short novel, it manages to tell a complex story because of this leanness with prose.

Contradictory to these statements, the characters do feel fully fleshed out though, especially Dhalia Barr whom we follow as she changes careers before finding herself in the predicament of decision maker and mother when her son is taken hostage.

I did find it a little difficult to get into at first because of the unknown territory for me, but I am glad I stuck with it because it’s one of those great little novels that are worth sticking with when at the end you feel you have not only achieved, but become more aware in the process.

With thanks to the author and publisher Scribe for my review copy.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  31 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good premise, but a missed opportunity 21 April 2014
By Lance Charnes - Published on
The Lie begins with an intriguing scenario: what if an outspoken human rights lawyer is co-opted by the Israeli Police to decide who gets tortured and who doesn't? That this scenario gets overwhelmed by the thriller plot is one of this novel's chief frustrations.

Dahlia Barr is the lawyer in question, a firebrand defender of the many (mostly Arab) lost souls who end up in Israeli police dragnets, many because they're in the wrong place at the wrong time or have done something that looks suspicious, whether or not it really is. Barr's mother is a strident leftist activist; her soon-to-be ex-husband Dudik has gone the other way, becoming a wealthy corporate lawyer. Barr is recruited by Israel's national police force to be the person who reviews case files and determines whether a prisoner is eligible for "extraordinary means," a polite word for "torture." Despite some initial misgivings, she agrees, thinking she'll change the system from within. Of course, it turns out to not be that straightforward.

Author Kestin, an Israeli native and longtime journalist, knows how to put together the body of a story. The settings are well-observed and atmospheric, full of the little details that show he's been there and done that. His depiction of the workings of Israel's security apparatus also rings with authenticity. The prose is tight and fast, a peppering of short chapters that switch between the various players to push the plot forward. I read this (admittedly slim) volume in just a few hours.

That plot is a mixed blessing. It overlays Dahlia's dilemmas with a terrorist-attack thriller tale that clocks along briskly but isn't as exciting or engaging as it thinks it is. The mechanics are all there, but there's no heart to it, and it resolves itself much too easily and with a strange lack of tension. Daniel Silva did this kind of thing much better at the height of his Gabriel Allon series.

The greatest disappointment, however, comes with the characters. Dahlia starts as a well-rounded person; she's not easy to like, which is fine, but she's interesting to watch at the beginning. However, she casts off her beliefs and ethics altogether too lightly, without even the level of reflection or hesitation that her circumstances would allow, and by the end we see very little of the qualities that had put her in her position to begin with. I can't tell whether this is the author making a political statement or simply not providing his heroine with a full character arc. It's vexing in either case.

The other characters have similar faults. The villains are provided with little backstory or motivation. The primary baddie, Edward al-Masri, is basically a jerk. Dahlia's mother is a one-note screamer, her Arab "auntie" is nearly a saint, and her superiors in the police and security services end up being right about most everything. Her son Ari, around whom much of the thriller plot revolves, isn't fleshed out enough for us to really connect with him. Surprisingly, Dudik is perhaps the most sympathetic figure of the lot. It may very well be that in keeping his story confined in 230 pages, the author sacrificed the dimensionality that would have made this an excellent story rather than simply being serviceable.

I wanted to like The Lie a lot more than I eventually did. The writing has many things going right, the premise was promising, and the atmosphere can't be beat. In the end, though, it becomes a middle-of-the-road Israelis-versus-terrorists saga without a lot to say that hasn't been said before (and, in some instances, said better). Sadly, a missed opportunity.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thoughtful nail biter 8 Jun 2014
By alan goldman - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book has everything, love, adventure, politics, history, and a surprise ending.
The problem is that the story covers too much ground. The characters are well developed, if a little stereotyped, and the action is exciting,but the book also deals with Middle Eastern Politics, parental love and the psychology of terrorists as well as their victims.
That's a lot for Mr. Kestin to bite off in one telling. But he does a pretty good job.
The book is one you will think about long after you have finished.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A read that is thrilling and thought provoking 28 May 2014
By Susan S. - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Dahlia Barr is an Israeli attorney who represents Palestinians accused of terrorism, a kind of left-wing defense attorney. She is divorcing from her husband and has two sons, one currently in the army, and a handsome journalist lover. Then, the Israeli establishment offers her a job she cannot refuse - a chance to make decisions about extraordinary interrogation techniques and whether and when to use them. Dahlia's mother is ultra-left-wing and has a close relationship with an Arab woman who spouts the anti-establishment talk. Her son, Edward al Masri is an ex-pat professor in Canada who knew Dahlia while in school in Israel. And then, something happens that calls everything Dahlia believes into question and she is forced into making a very personal decision. What she decides defines who we are as impersonal activists versus being a mother. She makes a decision quite the opposite of the one her own mother made many, many years before and as Dahlia lives through her nightmare, secrets are revealed that are explosive. It is a very interesting look at the left side of politics in Israel and the very real human costs of living there. A wonderful, page-turner.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Hard-Boiled Thriller All The Way 6 Mar 2014
By Bonnie Brody - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The Lie by Hesh Kestin packs a hard wallop and offers an inside look at the Israeli army and the Knesset in action as they seek to free some prisoners taken captive by Hezbollah.

Dahlia Barr is known primarily as a human rights activist and attorney, representing the poor and politically unpopular. Therefore, she is shocked when Zalman Arad from the police department calls upon her to offer her a job as Chief Superintendent and Special Advisor for Extraordinary Measures to the Chief Superintendent of Police. Basically, this job will put Dahlia in charge of torture - how and when it will be used and with what force.

Dahlia is in the process of divorcing her husband, Dudik, and she has a lover named Floyd who works for CNN. As the novel opens, a Canadian citizen named Mohammed Al-Asri is taken into Israeli custody for trying to bring one million Euros into the country. At the same time two men are kidnapped by Hezbollah. One is a Bedouin tracker and the other is an army officer - Dahlia's son. The secret service believe there is a connection between these two events. The Hezballah officer in charge of the kidnapping is Tawfeek Nur-Al-Din, a Lebanese.

Dahlia's mother is one of the people who demonstrate in front of the Knesset every day against the fascist state that she believes Israel is. Along with her friend Zeinab, an auntie to Dahlia growing up, they camp in front the knesset and picket with signs and slogans. Erika was a cold, cold mother and the only kindness Dahlia received as a child was from Zeinab, who is Al-Masri's mother.

When Dahlia sees the videos of her son's torture on CNN, she has no qualms about harming Al-Masri. Her political position turns180 degrees and she is comfortable burning cigarettes on his chest to attain the information she needs to find out where her son is. The torture works its miracles and a fleet of Israeli soldiers are sent to get Ari and the Bedouin.

Al-Masri is a gadfly who likes to appear on CNN and CBS. He also writes books. Though born in Israel, he renounced his Israeli heritage and has given up his first name, Mohammed, for Edward and has taken on Canadian citizenship. Dahlia is sure he holds the key to where Ari is and how to find him.

The book teaches the reader quite a lot about Israel. For instance, there is no word for 'subtlety in the Hebrew language. People don't emigrate to Israel, but rather they ascend to this land.

The book is a wonderful thriller that is delivered in short, succinct chapters that hold ho punches. It is hard-boiled all the way. The writing is astute and perspicacious about the culture. It looks closely, without embarrassment. at the roots and follow up to terrorism. I read this in one sitting and look forward to Mr. Kestin's next book.
4.0 out of 5 stars short novel is no easy task, but Hesh Kestin gives it a good ... 13 Sep 2014
By Tex - Published on
This book attempts to be both a thriller and a thoughtful examination of the moral implications of prisoner torture, set in contemporary Israel. Achieving both in a single, short novel is no easy task, but Hesh Kestin gives it a good shot. I hate to criticize a book that I enjoyed, but I get the feeling that Mr. Kestin is still honing his craft. Perhaps a deeper treatment of Dahlia's choices and portraits of other major characters would have improved the story a bit and some of the action plotting was a little too facile for my taste.

Having finished carping, I'm happier to say that I found the plot intriguing and the dialogue well done (lots of good examples of the blunt way in which Israelis seem to routinely talk to each other). I may be naive in that I didn't quite see the end coming (as apparently some other readers did), but I found it satisfying.

Finally, there will be inevitable charges of racism and condoning sanctioned torture directed toward this novel. Personally, I found it brave in confronting the real issues that continually arise in Israel. No one book is going to succeed in presenting every facet of these infinitely complex subjects and the author presents his version of some of them. There are other, powerful statements in film and novels of the Palestinian point of view, which certainly has tragic elements aplenty . I wonder if the readers who are shocked or appalled at "The Lie" feel the same way about some of those creative efforts as well.
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