The Lie – by Hesh Kestin


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I can’t even begin to describe how much I loved  The Lie by Hesh Kestin.  It’s not that it was some epic book that’s burned into my brain forever, more of me just loving the topic, the fast pace, and the writer’s style.

The Lie is about Dahlia Barr, an Israeli attorney whose focus is on defending Palestinians accused of terrorism, and about Edward Al-Masri, an Arab who grew up in Israel, and how their lives are connected.  Dahlia has staunch beliefs about torture and it’s these beliefs that are put to the ultimate test.

Dahlia is asked by the Israeli security establishment to be the nation’s arbiter on interrogation methods and when it truly necessary to use torture.  In Dahlia’s world, there’s never a need to use torture. She takes the job with the idea of changing the way things are done and ensuring torture is never used.  While Dahlia is adjusting to her job, Edward is arrested at the airport in Israel, accused of smuggling money into the country.  Dahlia has two sons, one of whom, Ari, is in the Israel Defense Forces.  Ari is kidnapped by Hezbollah and taken to Lebanon.  And Edward is the one who can help set Ari free, or send Ari to his death by not helping.  Dahlia’s beliefs are tested in ways she can’t even imagine and the struggle to free her son pushes her to the brink.the-mad-reviewer-reading-challenge-button

The thing I liked  the best about The Lie is the author’s background.   Kestin is a former journalist who reported on war, international security, and terrorism, just to name a few.  He also spent 18 years in the Israel Defense Forces.  This extensive background lent itself to a believable and fast paced story.  Most of the chapters were on the short side but provided good content.  My obsession/love for covert items, defense organizations, and the internal struggle of someone choosing to do the unthinkable also clearly played a part in my enjoyment of this book.

The reveal of the lie wasn’t quite what I expected but given the subject matter and the tension of the region the book takes place in, I can see why Kestin wrote the ending he did.  This was a fast paced and enjoyable book that I would be happy to read again or even give as a gift.  I hope Kestin writes more books like this.

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4 responses to “The Lie – by Hesh Kestin

  1. The premise of a person testing their beliefs, particularly one where they thought they knew where they stood and what the Lie is has piqued my interest. I’ll keep an eye open for this book when I get back to reading.

    • The character’s beliefs are tested more via the action that happens in the story rather than through an internal dialog struggle. Things happen at a fast pace but you can still see how Dahlia is pushed. It’s a fast read – I started it in the afternoon and finished the next day. Really enjoyed this book!

  2. “The character’s beliefs are tested more via the action that happens in the story rather than through an internal dialog struggle.” You may be the only reviewer who noted this. If I did manage to carry it off, I’m one happy novelist. It’s no secret that most novels written these days numbly carry on the 19th-century tradition of signaling the reader what will happen, then tell the reader what is happening, and then tell the same reader what happened. And at every stage describe the thinking of at least one character. Yikes, don’t novelists ever see movies? In fiction, as in life, ACTION, not the blather of intent and regret, is what counts. Thanks for being so sharp a reader. Hesh Kestin

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