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Invisible City (Rebekah Roberts, #1)
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Invisible City (Rebekah Roberts #1)

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  3,250 Ratings  ·  579 Reviews
A finalist for the Edgar and Mary Higgins Clark Awards, in her riveting debut Invisible City, journalist Julia Dahl introduces a compelling new character in search of the truth about a murder and an understanding of her own heritage.

Just months after Rebekah Roberts was born, her mother, an Hasidic Jew from Brooklyn, abandoned her Christian boyfriend and newborn baby to re
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published May 6th 2014 by Minotaur Books
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Oct 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Award winning debut novel from Julia Dahl. Takes place in New York where the main character Rebekah Roberts is a contract journalist for a city newspaper. Covering her latest story of a woman's body found in a junkyard in Brooklyn, she comes into contact with a closed religious community largely populated by Hassidic Jews.
The author delves into this closed culture to give a closer view of a segregated community that isn't well known or seen. This book reminded me of Linda Castillo's books highl
Jun 09, 2014 rated it did not like it
One of my favorite lines from a movie what I have since forgotten goes something like this:
'I know you're a reporter. But you were once a human being.'
This line kept coming back to me as I read the very unfortunate Invisible City, a gritty murder mystery that I would not have wasted my time on, but for the tie in with the Hasidic community, a distant relative to me as an Orthodox Jew, and a strong desire to rip this book to shreds upon completing it.
IC is about a young woman named Rebekah (funky
Jan 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Initial Thoughts: So I picked up this book around lunchtime and finished it before dinner. This book deals with a murder investigation in NYC's Hasidic community. Rebekah Roberts is assigned to investigate the murder for her newspaper and she uncovers quite a lot of interesting tidbits. The story is told from Rebekah's point of view and the story kept me enthralled throughout. Rebekah's voice and the author's attention to details made the story feel very much an authentic depiction of the Hasidi ...more
Aug 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The varied elements of this novel combine to make it both a compelling personal story and a suspenseful mystery. These include a homicide in an insular religious community that to some extent operates under its own laws and a complexly drawn main character with a troubled family history and a job that has her running all over the city inserting herself in other people’s lives. Invisible City by Julia Dahl had me from its premise and did not disappoint as I read. I was so drawn to it I found myse ...more
May 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
Very quick & easy - I read it in 3 days. It was an interesting, intriguing murder mystery but I was uncomfortable with how the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Borough Park was portrayed. Everyone was either mentally ill, protecting a family member who was mentally ill, or trying to escape from the community. The ending totally left me hanging and she didn't bring any closure to Rebekah's relationship with her boyfriend Tony. There's probably a sequel in the works . . .
May 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Gwen by: random ARC from book club
Shelves: fiction
Surprisingly boring and felt oddly cliched/stereotyped. The mystery ended rather abruptly with little explanation, and the characterization was overall very poor. However, I give Dahl credit for pretty accurately capturing the voice of a 23-year-old new journalist and getting a good feel for how the world works for the underpaid, freshly out of college New Yorkers.
Jan Rice
Nov 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
The young heroine of Julia Dahl's new book, the first of a series, is in New York working as a stringer for a tabloid and trying to be a reporter, when she gets involved in investigating the murder of a Hasidic woman. Remembering Catch-22, she thinks,

Man is matter. Drop him out a window and he will fall. Set fire to him and he will burn. Something like that. I always remembered those lines. To me it felt like a carpe diem thing. Like, you've got this body, this life, and it's all you've got. But
Dec 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audio, 2015, 2016
Just not good. The hook for this little mystery is that our heroine, an annoyingly feckless girl reporter, is the daughter of a Hasidic mother who abandoned her as an infant and returned to the fold. Now, our gal, Rebekah, writing as a stringer for the bastard child of the NY Post and the NY Times, the "Trib", finds herself living in Gowanus (my hood!) and investigating the murderous doings of NY's Hasidim.

Two big problems here for me: One, she writes about Hasidim (who she frequently confuses
May 08, 2014 rated it it was ok
Average - everything was average in this book: the character development, the plot, the writing. Average is being generous.

Intrepid girl reporter finds herself in "danger" in the big city. She is accompanied by the ubiquitous best fried and an extremely peripheral love interest [Insert the remainder of any other 'mystery' novel you have read here]. Nothing new to be found in these pages. This book is obviously setting up all the books that are going to be in this series. The only problem with t
Sep 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction

Stories about insular religious communities are always a bit gutting while at the same time absorbing in their details. I quickly moved onto the second in this series Run You Down. Both are mysteries involving Hasidic communities in New York. Insular communities pose challenges for law enforcement- because they can vote. In large numbers. Also, the Hasid have their own police force called Shomrim. Add murder and a tenacious reporter to this equation and you have a perfect shit storm.

And what hap
Tellulah Darling
Jun 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Hasidic community has always fascinated me and I'm always up for a good mystery, so when I saw this book, I had to pick it up. It's a solid read. Good writing. The mystery may not be the most challenging, but it had enough interesting twists and turns to keep me going.

Mostly, I really enjoyed Rebekah's brush with her mother's community. The insights she took away from it both as a perspective on another culture and what it meant for her personally. Definitely recommend.
Mar 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Fascinating view into the difficulty of uncovering crime hidden within the closed society of Hasidic NYC, and the hectic life of a tabloid newspaper stringer, all viewed through the anxious (and sometimes unreliable) eyes of a young reporter. First in a new mystery series.
Jul 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Invisible City first caught my attention because of its focus on Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn. That it is a murder mystery, my favorite genre, sealed the deal for me to read it. Julia Dahl delves into the secret world of the Hasidic community of Borough Park in Brooklyn, where Orthodox Jews adhere to a style of life and set of rules from a long history of isolationism. Dahl does an excellent job of shedding light on how the mix of modern world and tradition can collide in untenable situations for so ...more
Feb 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was a very thoughtfully written debut novel!!! I learned so much about the Hasidic community which I previously knew nothing about!!! I really, really look forward to the next in this series!!! 4.5 stars!!!
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
A mystery that takes you to the depths of a strange culture - that of ultra-orthodox Jews living in New York. It is a closed and secretive community that protects its own vehemently. In this case, it makes them try to cover up a murder of a young woman. A young freelance journalist with distant ties to the community is caught up in the story, and finds out more about her own family history on the way to solving the mystery and discovering the murderer. Believable and realistic, the novel sheds l ...more
Oct 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
Folks have told me on a couple different occasions that I could/should write a book. I smile, say thank you and think to myself "just because I like writing, doesn't mean I could write a good book". This book lends itself to a different opinion: If this woman can get published and featured at my library's "express section". (Usually reserved for new books in high demand), I suppose I too could write a book.

That doesn't mean I would be a great author. Instead, it means that sometimes a ho hum au
Mar 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Invisible City by Julia Dahl tugged at my curiosity about Hasidic Jews. They are indeed an invisible city, unless we read a book about their life by a former Hasidic we really don’t know that much about their lives. The author is a journalist who writes about crime and if the main character could have a wish, I believe that she would like the same career.

Rebekah Roberts was raised by her father after her mother left her when she was just a few weeks old. Her father met her mother in the religion
Jul 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Brooklyn’s Hasidic community inhabits the eponymous “Invisible City” of Julia Dahl’s debut novel. Into those tradition-bound confines ventures Brooklyn hipster and recently minted journalist Rebekah Roberts. She’s used to being sent out on weird, mind- and body-numbing assignments, like waiting for hours in the freezing cold to get a quote from a woman the paper calls “Porn Mom’’ (she let her boyfriend take pornographic pictures of her children). Rebekah salutes and marches wherever editors send ...more
May 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
I really enjoyed this book - had a hard time putting it down. The pacing is pitch perfect, the characters interesting, and the story takes into unfamiliar worlds - top it off with topicality and voila! Entertainment!

Our intrepid heroine is Rebekah, a young reporter trying to live her dream in New York City, faced with all the challenges you might imagine. Added to this soup is her own personal mystery - what happened to her mother, a Hasidic Jew who abandoned her faith to marry and then abandone
Jan 10, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Any book description that deals with Jewish history, traditions or beliefs catches my eye. That's why I downloaded this premier audio book by Julia Dahl. I have very little knowledge of the Hasidic beliefs; so I can't judge whether some of the practices portrayed in this book are accurate. But I did like the protagonist, Rebekah , an aspiring reporter trying to make it in New York. An interesting twist is that her mother, who abandoned her as a baby, was a Hasidic Jew. I like Julia Dahl's writin ...more
Jun 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Great book - I wasn't sure if I'd be able to get through it, since a lot of Adult Fiction bores me.
Kati Berman
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
I don’t usually read murder mysteries, but this one caught my eye taking place in the Brooklyn Hasidic community. I should have stayed away. I found this book extremely boring, only finished it to find out “who did it”. The protagonist, Rebekah was much more concerned about finding out why her mother left her and her Dad when she was 6 months old and returned to her Hasidic origin than to help with her investigative journalism to find the killer. Overall, a very disappointing read, do not recomm ...more
Aug 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Originally published at Reading Reality

Invisible City is the story of a search for identity wrapped in a murder mystery and a police cover-up. Several cover-ups. But no matter how convoluted the plot gets, what we’re left with at the end is the same conclusion that the protagonist arrives at: this investigation provided Rebekah Roberts with the excuse she needed to help her find her mother.

Both find as in locate, and find as in understand. Rebekah is aware, at least in fits and starts, that her
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Interesting and quick thriller with a journalist as the narrator. She investigates a murder within a Hasidic community with ties to her mother.
John McKenna
Jan 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Mysterious Book Report No. 187
by John Dwaine McKenna
Have you ever thought about any of the subcultures which exist in the midst of what we call ‘normal’ or regular society? Religious groups like the Amish, Mennonites, Hare Krishna’s, Islamist’s, Mormons, Sikhs and Hindus are all stitched into the fabric of America in plain sight . . . yet remain secretive and mostly unknown by all the rest of us. They have a common desire to be left alone, allowed to live by their own rules and reject all values
May 13, 2014 rated it liked it
Julia Dahl's debut novel takes readers into one Invisible City, and her protagonist Rebekah Roberts, into two. While Rebekah and readers discover the Hasidic community of Borough Park in New York, she also discovers the hidden truths in her own life, her own Invisible City.

Rebekah Roberts is a few years out of a college, working in the city of every journalist's dream, New York. She's a stringer for the New York Tribune, taking any job the newspaper gives her, a different assignment every day. B
Bonnie Brody
May 22, 2014 rated it liked it
Rebekah Brown was raised in Orlando by her single Lutheran father. Her mother, Aviva, a Hasidic Jew, left her father shortly after Rebekah was born. At the time Rebekah's parents met at the Strand bookstore in New York City, Aviva was questioning her ultra-orthodox faith. She ran off with Rebekah's father but they never married. As soon as Rebekah graduated from college, she decided to go to New York City to become a journalist. Also, in the back of her mind, she is looking for her mother, or at ...more
I liked and did not like this book. In a way it was good - it allowed me to peek into the world of the Hasidic Jews, whom I have glimpsed while in Brooklyn and about whom I know next to nothing. The problem with this though, is that I didn't think I was getting a complete picture. It is true that they are insular and probably have problems just like the rest of the world, but almost every character introduced to us in the book have either mental issues or issues with the way they live. They ques ...more
Jan 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Invisible City (click on book for description)
By Julia Dahl
Available 5/6/14
Provided free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Rating:3 bones

Finish Time: 5 nights. I’ve been hesitating to write this review. This book was fine. It was an interesting topic, somewhat of a page-turning mystery, but it didn’t floor me, and I just don’t have a lot to say about it.

The book focuses on Rebekah Roberts, a free-lance reporter for the New York Tribune, a tabloid newspaper. Her role as reporter quic
Shannon Brown
Sep 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Another surprise library hold book. I really liked this -- the first in a planned series -- more than I thought I might. I really liked the main character, Rebekah Roberts, a post-college stringer for a New York tabloid and the child of a relationship between her Hasidic mother, who abandoned her as an infant to return to her cloistered Orthodox world, and a Christian dad. I thought she was believably screwed up, but in a way that never felt overwrought, and I liked her wry, sometimes naive, nar ...more
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Laurie R. King Vi...: This topic has been closed to new comments. Invisible City by Julia Dahl - VBC July 2016 71 50 Jul 25, 2016 12:22PM  
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Sep 18, 2015 04:32PM  
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Julia Dahl was born in Fresno, Calif., to a Lutheran father and a Jewish mother. She currently lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Julia has been writing about crime since 2004 when Seventeen magazine sent her to cover the story of a young Birmingham, Ala., girl who had been killed by her mother. Since then, she has worked as a freelance reporter at the New York Post, the deputy managing editor of The Crime R
More about Julia Dahl...

Other Books in the Series

Rebekah Roberts (3 books)
  • Run You Down (Rebekah Roberts, #2)
  • Conviction (Rebekah Roberts, #3)