Bestseller Patterson's new thriller with its focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been overtaken by events (there's no mention of Israel's unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005 or the recent fighting across the Lebanese border), but the underlying political issues may be enough for most readers to put the real world aside and suspend disbelief. Harvard-trained attorney David Wolfe, a San Franciscan on the verge of a congressional campaign, has his plans derailed when his law school classmate (and one-time lover), Palestinian Hana Arif, asks him to defend her from charges that she led a conspiracy that assassinated dovish Israeli leader Amos Ben-Aron. Inspired by idealism and lingering passion, Wolfe jeopardizes his political future by taking the case. His suspicion that the suicide bombers who attacked Ben-Aron were aided by a security breach leads him to Israel and Lebanon. While Patterson (Conviction) attempts to portray the issues fairly, the introduction of a soap-operaish subplot undercuts his intended high purpose, and the resolution of the mystery is too predictable to surprise. 10-city author tour. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Patterson (Conviction) pens a big legal thriller that is light on suspense but compelling nonetheless. David Wolfe, a successful Jewish lawyer with political ambitions, had a clandestine affair with Arab activist Hana Arif while in law school, but Hana left him to enter an arranged marriage. Thirteen years later, Hana is vacationing in San Francisco with her family when the visiting Israeli prime minister is assassinated by a suicide bomber, which brings a new level of terrorism to the United States. Hana stands accused as the mastermind of the murder and asks David to represent her, dramatically disrupting both their lives. While David isn't entirely sure he believes his former lover is innocent, he finds many inconsistencies in the evidence against her. When it begins to appear that Hana is being framed, he goes to Israel in search of the truth. The stories of the Israelis and Arabs with whom David meets are unforgettable, but the central plot line and main characters are a bit thin. Still, Patterson delves evenhandedly into both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict, making this a fascinating and timely read. Highly recommended for all public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/06.] Stacy Alesi, Palm Beach Cty. Lib. Syst., Boca Raton, FL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
In his latest ripped-from-the-headlines thriller, Patterson puts the screws to a San Francisco lawyer called to defend his Palestinian ex-lover on murder charges after she's accused of conspiring to kill the Israeli Prime Minister. A thoroughly unconvincing series of flashbacks shows how, 13 years ago, David Wolfe, a comfortably secularized Jew, and his fellow Harvard Law student, Hana Arif, carried on a torrid romance under the nose of her fiance, Palestinian activist Saeb Khalid. Now David is compromising his future in politics by answering Hana's plea for help. The testimony of Ibrahim Jefar, a suicide bomber who took part in the bombing of peacenik Israeli Prime Minister Amos Ben-Aron but didn't succeed in killing himself, implicates her in the plot. Although David assures his fiancee Carole Shorr that he won't take Hana's case, it's so hot that no other qualified lawyer will touch it. As David settles uneasily into Hana's defense, he senses his old life-his political dreams, his engagement to Carol, the friendship of her wealthy father, a Holocaust survivor-slipping away. Nor is there any certainty that he'll win Hana's acquittal. The only sure bet is that Patterson (Conviction, 2005, etc.) will seize the opportunity to present characters giving voice to every possible perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. An endless roll call of people and perspectives bloats David's fact-finding trip to Israel. The result, very typical of Patterson, is perceptive and even-handed analysis but sagging drama. Hana's trial promises more in the way of fireworks, but despite some sharp courtroom scenes, the big climax will surprise no one but David. A riveting premise, a sympathetic ear forevery party to an intractable problem, the geopolitics of the earth's most volatile region all balanced on the backs of a handful of tormented souls-not by a long shot Patterson's best book, but in many ways his most characteristic. First printing of 500,000; $500,000 ad/promo. Agent: Fred Hill/Frederick Hill Bonnie Nadell, Inc. (SF office)
Torn from the headlines…EXILE delivers.” The New York Times Book Review
“Artful…compelling.” USA Today
“Astonishing, hugely entertaining.” Bill Clinton