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 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.