Cigarettes abound on the pages of The Lie, the new suspense novel by Hesh Kestin. There are cigars as well, and a trail of butts left by Hezbollah terrorists. Almost all of the characters in this book smoke, and those who don’t, get smoke blown in their faces. Or lit butts held to their chests.
Dahlia Barr, a controversial human rights attorney who regularly defends Palestinians in Israeli courtrooms is offered a position she finds hard to refuse. She transfers to the police force to serve as Special Adviser for Extraordinary Measures, where she will be able to prevent the torturing of suspects during interrogations.
"I could make a difference," Dahlia says. But she never gets a chance because her 20-year-old son, Ari, a lieutenant in the Israel Defense Forces, is kidnapped by Hezbollah and whisked over the border to Lebanon. Hezbollah offers to release Ari and a second Israeli soldier in exchange for Edward Al-Masri, a Canadian professor and Palestinian rights activist with whom Dahlia has a long, tortuous history.
Al-Masri is apparently key to the prisoner exchange, but he's not talking. Not yet, anyways. Perhaps if extraordinary measures are applied, valuable, life-saving information could help Israel fight Hezbollah. It's up to Dahlia, with her son's life at stake, to decide how to act in these most unusual circumstances.
The Lie (Scribner, March 2014) is a suspenseful read, with short chapters that keep the action moving at an incredibly fast pace. In her starring role, Dahlia Barr comes across as a multifaceted character, struggling with both a pending divorce and a troublesome relationship with her mother. Unfortunately, Al-Masri and Ari, in their supporting roles, are not as fleshed out or as credible.
Hesh Kestin, an eighteen-year veteran of the Israel Defense Forces, was for two decades a foreign correspondent reporting from the Middle East on war, international security, terrorism, arms dealing, espionage, and global business. The father of five, Kestin lives on Long Island in New York.
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Originally published at The Times of Israel.