I don’t often sympathize with criminals, especially those in books. Ziv Nevo is an exception in The Lineup by Liad Shoham. In Tel Aviv, a 24 year old girl is raped at knifepoint (nothing graphic in the book) and severely traumatized. She stops answering her phone and doing anything but obsessively showering. When her concerned parents knock on her door and refuse to go away, she finally admits what happens and her father convinces her to go to the police.
The detective in charge of the case, a crusty veteran who uses “old fashioned” police work rather than technology and other procedures in vogue in the station, doesn’t offer much hope. Inspector Eli Nachum does what he can, but it isn’t until Yaron Regev, the victim’s father, spots a suspicious person three weeks later lurking on the street that fits his daughter’s description at the same time of night she was attacked. He chases him down and follows him to his home, then snaps a photo the next morning.
Taking his evidence to Nachum, Ziv Nevo is arrested. Without telling him what he is arrested for, Nachum sweats the suspect with innuendo and Nevo is ready to break. He is about to sign a full confession of his crimes when Nachum mentions rape – the first time the accusation was thrown down. Instantly realizing he is being accused of the wrong crime, Nevo backpedals and refuses to confess.
With this impediment thrown in his way, Nachum looks the other way when Yaron shows his daughter the photo he took of the suspect before the lineup. Even with a shaky and coached identification, Nachum manages an indictment. When Nevo suddenly insists on pleading guilty, something strikes Nachum and the district attorney wrong. Nachum’s blind eye toward procedure comes to light and he is suspended.
Nachum continues to follow the investigation as best he can on his own, using the resources of a pesky reporter Amit Giladi who has ambitions far behind his small newspaper job. Eventually, it comes out that there is far more to this investigation with other – more serious – crimes coincidentally touching on the original rape and arrest, particularly when there is a second brutal rape just after Nevo is released from jail. An intense read, it’s a wonderful question into whether the ends justify the means and how hard it is to say no when you’ve been put into an ugly situation by chance.
This is the first novel that Liad Shoham has had translated into English, though his books are bestsellers in Israel. I can see why as the book is gripping with a variety of characters from the comical to pleasantly stereotypical to surprisingly flawed and human. This book feels as though it could be part of a series, but it is a stand alone book at this point. If only I spoke Hebrew, I would be grabbing up Shoham’s many other crime thrillers.
Written by Michelle who deeply regrets her inability to speak any other foreign languages fluently (anymore). See where she is accomplished as she shares on her blog Honest & Truly! or follow along on Twitter where she is also @HonestandTruly.