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Asylum City: A Novel

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  126 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
In this edgy thriller from the #1 international bestselling author of Lineup, which was described by New York Times bestselling author Joseph Finder as ‘a marvel of tight plotting, spare prose, and relentless pacing’, a young police officer’s investigation of a murder plunges her into the dark underworld of Tel Aviv.
When young social activist Michal Poleg is found dead in
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published December 9th 2014 by Harper (first published January 1st 2013)
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Community Reviews

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May 31, 2015 Raven rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
By sheer coincidence, I was pitched this book about the Eritrean and Ethiopian refugee crisis in Tel Aviv, having been absolutely oblivious to this sensitive social issue. In an interesting instance of art imitating life, I encountered an in-depth newspaper feature within days of starting this book, focussing on this very issue, and the depth of feeling within Israel on this emotive and opinion-splitting aspect of contemporary Israeli society. Likewise, in the author’s acknowledgements, Shoham ...more
The goals we set for ourselves are sometimes met in unusual ways.Sometimes the goals are accomplished after a person's death.

Michal Poleg is a young social activist in Tel Aviv. She believes in helping the downtrodden with her whole being. She's active in an organization that helps refugees and asylum seekers in Israel.

Michal has pursued a number of people who were taking advantage of the refugees so passionately that someone struck back and she was found dead in her Tel Aviv apartment.

Officer A
Barry Martin Vass
May 09, 2015 Barry Martin Vass rated it it was amazing
This is an Israeli crime novel from Liad Shoham, translated from the original Hebrew by Sara Kitai. Here's the scenario: at any given time there are tens of thousands of "asylum seekers" in Tel Aviv from the northeast African nation of Eritrea. They can't be sent home because the regime there is so brutal that they would be killed the minute they set foot back in their homeland. And so the Israeli government, the migrant aid organizations, and the legal community are all involved in a ...more
Gloria Feit
Jul 25, 2015 Gloria Feit rated it really liked it
A common misperception about Israel is that its population is mostly white Sabras (Israeli-born) or Russian or middle European immigrants. But nothing could be further from the truth. There is, of course, a substantial percentage of Arabs. And there is a sizable number of Black Africans. That is the basis for this novel, which presents a graphic picture of the African refugee influx seeking asylum in the Middle Eastern nation.

At the same time the plot centers on the murder of Michal Poleg, a vol
William Bentrim
Dec 05, 2014 William Bentrim rated it it was amazing
Asylum City by Liad Shoham

This is a novel set in Israel written by an Israeli. It deals with Israel's immigrant issues while purported to be a crime novel.

The news article noted in the web site link gives a good overview of the author. The story is different in that translated to English you find similarities and differences between an American author and an Israeli author. The way crime is handled and the justice system is similar but different.

The political aspects of crime bear a striking s
Nov 12, 2016 Eli rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Mostly trite and a little confusing plot, but interesting to see how a mystery set in Israel by an Israeli writer differs from one set in the US by an American.
Review originally posted on Reading Lark:

3.5 stars

At the opening of Asylum City, we meet Michal, a young activist who is passionate about the plight of African asylum-seekers in Israel. So passionate, in fact, that even other activists find her a little on the extreme side. Michal believes she has discovered some important information about someone involved with the refugee community, and before she can tell anyone, she is murdered in her own apartment. A
Feb 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: caro

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Caro

In Asylum City, Israeli author Liad Shoham, describes to the reader more than a simple homicide case. Asylum City deals with the problems and issues that both Israelis and refugees face in their everyday lives trying to survive, in a changing society, as citizens and migrants. This is where OMA (Organization for Migrant Aid) director Itai fisher and volunteer Michal Poleg come in and help the African asylum seekers constr
RJ McGill
Mar 20, 2016 RJ McGill rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, challenge
The basic premise of the book is fairly common - An eager young detective, determined to solve her first case digs into a homicide that's cut and dry as far as the commanders are concerned. Doing so unveils a dark, seedy underworld where friends and foes aren't so easily discernible...and crossing the latter often has deadly consequences. But, Liad Shoham's whodunnit/mystery/thriller builds upon that basic story line, layer upon layer - with fluid characters that are so sharply drawn they could ...more
Kathleen Dixon
Jan 11, 2016 Kathleen Dixon rated it really liked it
I watched this movie some years ago and it was my first introduction to life for black people in Israel. Of course, its premise is quite different to that of this book - the movie focused on Ethiopian Jews, finally recognised by Israel as 'true' Jews, and airlifted to Israel to remove them from persecution in Ethiopia. That is historical fact. The movie had a major plot factor with a Christian boy being taken in place of a child who had died, however, it showed a lot about the situation in Israe ...more
Reading ASYLUM CITY provides the reader with a new perspective on crime. Not only does it expose the reader to new lawful processes (even within the fictitious landscape) but it introduces new rationale behind the crimes committed. In ASYLUM CITY the criminal elements are complex and are largely based on greed - a common enough element, yet when immigration, refugees, and other political factors come into play, ASYLUM CITY distances itself from the norm.

The characters aren't all they seem to be
Nov 15, 2015 J rated it liked it
BEWARE: One man's bookflap summary may be another man's spoiler.

Omniscient perspective by author.

Set in Tel Aviv, police mix it up with social activists, Eritrean refugees, lawyers and organized crime figures.

People often work at cross purposes, I learned from this crime mystery:

One person calls in the media to help some disadvantaged refugees, but it backfires.

One state's attorney relies on the word of a higher-level politician to justify the attorney's course of action. But, in the absence of
Mar 23, 2015 Merle rated it really liked it
This is another fabulous mystery novel about Israel. It is great to read a novel that takes place in Israel. Also ait is wonderful to discover another terrific mystery author, Liad Shoham. This reviewer will be going back to read his first novel and looking forward to reading many more books by him in the future. In this book the plot takes the reader into the underworld crime network revealed as Michal Poleg, a social worker trying to help Ethiopian and Eritrea refugees. She discovers ...more
Jill Meyer
May 07, 2016 Jill Meyer rated it it was ok
I chose Israeli novelist/lawyer Liad Shoham's new novel, "Asylum City", because I had enjoyed his first book, "Lineup". Both books are set in Tel Aviv and Shoham gives an atmospheric view of the city and its people.

In "Asylum", the story takes place in the world of the political refugees who have fled bloodshed in their native Africa. They are helped along in their new lives by volunteers working at an aid office. One of the Israelis - a woman activist named Michal Poleg - is found beaten and mu
Oct 15, 2014 J.R. rated it really liked it
Shelves: thrillers
The suspect confessed. Everyone else is eager to proceed. But Officer Anat Nachmias, the lead on her first murder investigation, isn’t satisfied the frightened young African is guilty.

There are too many holes in the story spun by Gabriel, a refugee from Eritrea, who had been a special project for Michal Poleg, the social activist he claims to have killed. Anat wants answers while her supervisors just want the case closed.

Her quest for answers draws Anat into the shadowy world of the refugees who
Nov 24, 2014 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Liad Shoham takes the reader the seedy under belly of Tel Aviv in his latest book, Asylum City. This is the second book I have read by Shoham, and as with Lineup, I was not disappointed and read Asylum City cover to cover. Officer Anat Nachmias is placed in charge of finding out who murdered Michal Poleg, a young social activist, when Gabriel, a young refugee confesses, however Anat is not at all convinced this young African committed the murder. Anat’s commanding officers want the case closed, ...more
Hadar Bechor
Jul 07, 2013 Hadar Bechor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am very familiar with the city of Tel Aviv, from the fifties all the way to present, and I love it. But I was not very familiar with its dark underbelly until I read this book. When I read the author's notes (this is the first book by him I have read) I realized that serious research went into it, so one can safely assume, I believe, that the backdrop for this dramatic plot is a certain reality, beyond the facts I already knew - that there are many poor undocumented people living in the area ...more
Reader's Hollow
Feb 05, 2015 Reader's Hollow rated it really liked it
After reading the author's notes I realized just how much research went into Itai and Michal's work as social workers for immigrants. Most of the Israeli city, from what I've gathered, is a lovely place but like all cities, there's darkness underneath.

There is a vibrant array of characters, none of which are 2dimensional. They're fleshed out wonderfully and Ifound myself rooting for some and hating others.

The center of the story revolves around a headstrong woman who'd been murdered. It's in her
Dec 30, 2014 Diane rated it really liked it
One this book from Goodreads giveaway.

I was not failure with this author and not sure what to expect. I found her to be a excilent writer and her characters where well rounded and strong.

The story takes place in Tel Aviv. We meet Officer Anat Machmias who is assigned the lead on the murder of the young woman Michal Polig. The young woman was a activist who volunteered at the Office of Migrant Aid.
I found Officer Anat Machmias, a strong minded women, who did not give up once her mind was set and

En god thriller men ikke på niveau med konfrontation af samme forfatter. Det er måske fordi der er relavtivt mange personer med og der springes meget rundt mellem personerne. Bogen mangler derfor lidt dybere beskrivelser af personerne. Selve plottet og historiens forløb er godt,men dog ikke så spændende at du ikke kan lægge bogen fra dig.
Apr 27, 2015 Carol rated it it was amazing
Israeli thriller uses the murder of a social worker and activist to shed light on the plight of African political refugees seeking asylum in Israel. Lots of intertwining plot lines keep the mystery interesting, and the window into the Israeli criminal justice system is fascinating.
Jun 29, 2015 Siv30 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
באופן מפתיע ליעד שהם כתב ספר מתח טוב, רלוונטי לתקופה ולנושאים שמעסיקים את הציבור. לא הצלחתי לגלות מי הרוצח והופתעתי :-)
הקשבתי ליובל בן עמי מקריא וזה תענוג להקשיב לו אחד הקריינים הנפלאים של icast והוא תורם המון להנאה מהספר.
Renee Bishop
Aug 14, 2016 Renee Bishop rated it really liked it
A light, quick read, but I don’t think it’s as good as his other book, Lineup. There are a lot of characters in this novel and it took me quite a time to familiarize myself with all of them. The book is fast-paced and I couldn't put it down. Recommended.
Cyndy Aleo
Jan 03, 2015 Cyndy Aleo rated it it was ok
Reviewed for RT Book Reviews December 2014 issue:
Grace Shore Kassoff
Sep 16, 2015 Grace Shore Kassoff rated it really liked it
The mystery was pretty good, but the backdrop of the the newer immigrants and the cultural/social/economic problems now in Israel was eye opening for me
Nov 29, 2014 Wendy rated it it was amazing
A very well written book!
Jessifischer rated it really liked it
Feb 20, 2016
Alice rated it liked it
Oct 08, 2016
Noa rated it really liked it
Feb 03, 2015
Carolina rated it it was amazing
Apr 05, 2015
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