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The Butcher's Theater

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  3,669 Ratings  ·  115 Reviews
They call the ancient hills of Jerusalem the  butcher's theater. Here, upon this bloodstained stage,  a faceless killer performs his violent specialty:  The first to die brutally is a fifteen-year-old  girl. She is drained of blood, then carefully bathed  and shrouded in white. Precisely one week later, a  second victim is found. From the sacred  Wailing Wall to the monast ...more
Paperback, 640 pages
Published April 1st 2003 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 1988)
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Jerusalem, Israel.
"The Butcher's Theater they called the hills of Jerusalem. Terrain full of nasty surprises. It carved up soldiers and turned them into vulture fodder." (P.216)

This is the story of contemporary Israel: its people, cultures, religions, politics. Throughout the 882 pages, a potpourri of everything is mixed in with the work of Chief Inspector Daniel Shalom Sharavi, a Yemenite Jew, and his team who needs to solve a serial murder case. The victimes were scrubbed and drained, like th
The Brain in the Jar
Apr 12, 2013 The Brain in the Jar rated it did not like it
Stop it. I can't take it. I won't let you do this. No, you've done it again. I can't believe it. How long? How much more? Until when? When will this end?

I can't take another page of characters speculating. I can't take another page full of a character's thoughts of what may or may not happen. I want action. I want events. This book is written in third person. That means I am watching the characters. Pulling me in and out of their heads just makes me seasick and confused whether this is an out-of
Jul 06, 2009 Gardenia rated it it was ok
I thought this book would never end.
Carol Storm
Jul 25, 2011 Carol Storm rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rebecca Huston
Sep 02, 2010 Rebecca Huston rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Probably my favourite book by Jonathan Kellerman. Mystery set in modern day Jerusalem, and chilling to read. A serial killer is targeting young Arab women, and it's up to Daniel Sharavi and his team to find the murderer. Lots of psychological drama, details on Israeli daily life and a very vivid, very alive look at Jerusalem. This one I have read about a half-dozen times, and have enjoyed very much. Not at all like the Alex Delaware novels.
Sep 16, 2016 Lainy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Time taken to read - 4 days

Pages - 628

Publisher - Bantam

Blurb from Goodreads

They call the ancient hills of Jerusalem the butcher's theater. Here, upon this bloodstained stage, a faceless killer performs his violent specialty: The first to die brutally is a fifteen-year-old girl. She is drained of blood, then carefully bathed and shrouded in white. Precisely one week later, a second victim is found. From the sacred Wailing Wall to the monasteries where dark secrets are cloistered, from black-clad
Jan 23, 2017 Nancy rated it it was amazing
This book, written in Jonathan Kellerman's early career, was by far his best. I enjoyed Kellerman's Alex Delaware books for many years, but this book does what that series doesn't- it gets personal and has history, religion and politics entwined with the narrative.

The book takes place in modern day Israel (1988 era) and introduces us to Detective Sharavi, a devout Jewish man who needs to solve a gruesome murder. He works alongside many others who have different religious and political leanings,
Sep 15, 2008 Jennifer rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned, forensics
Those attempting to read this work are advised to keep a copy of a map of Jerusalem nearby. This book assumes a level of knowledge of both the city of Jerusalem and the structure of Israeli society and politics that I lack, and is moderately preachy on the PLO/Israeli conflict. Speaking personally, there simply wasn't enough crime-solving to wade through the Israeli politics.
Amanda Patterson
Jul 31, 2011 Amanda Patterson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent.Out of his comfort zone
Mitch Holsten
Jul 22, 2014 Mitch Holsten rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book a lot, some very unexpected turns, yet some expected turns. The backdrop is instrumental, late 70's Jerusalem, with all it's political distrust weighing heavily on the plot. I would have liked to know why the antagonist became the person he did. He was only described as weird by his father in the story. I also did not like the Nazi stuff. It gets old, but I get it. It would have been too easy to have an Arab or Palestinian as the bad guy. The story kept me attentive, especial ...more
Aug 25, 2010 BoekenTrol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all people who like thrillers

Dit was mijn eerste thriller van Kellerman. En het was meteen vuurwerk. Allemensen wat een boek. Af en toe gingen me de haren recht overeind staan, zelf bij meerdere malen lezen nog.
Normaliter heb ik dan zoiets van 'o, ja, zo ging het'. Dat is er nu ook wel, maar omdat het verhaal, de verschillende verhaallijnen en de personages zo intrigerend zijn, kan me dat helemaal niets schelen en sla ik bij de tigste keer herlezen nog steeds geen bladzijde over.
Sep 25, 2007 Heidi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mysteries
As much as I love mysteries, they don't usually earn 5 stars... but this one, which takes place in Isreal, is as much about the culture and clashes of peoples, as it is about the victims and murderer.

Kellerman's Jewish police detective is a fully developed character who deserved his own series... as good as any long-running detective series, but I think he's only featured in one other (a Delaware mystery) Kellerman novel.
Jan 30, 2013 Vanessa rated it liked it
As far as storyline, suspense and character development go, an excellent read. But rather shocked at the number of syntax and obvious repetitions. Where were the proofreaders?
Marlaine Kirton
Jul 01, 2017 Marlaine Kirton rated it it was ok
I can usually count on a Jonathan Kellerman novel to be a good read, but this one got very tedious. I thought the insight into the region and people was interesting at first, but it, too, turned tedious. The killer's hate-filled monologues also became just too much. All in all, I suppose it is to
Mr. Kellerman'so credit that I finished the book.
Jun 27, 2017 Kathy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Language barrier for me, tough to read and very long. But it was a good book
May 21, 2017 R.H. rated it it was ok
There is no suspense. Too many characters and too many detailed descriptions of each of them. Recommended only if you are interested in a modern day life in Jerusalem.
Bridgette Redman
Feb 01, 2012 Bridgette Redman rated it really liked it
Typically, once I have begun a series, I much prefer the author to produce within the canon. After all, publishing a book outside the series takes time away from the characters I’ve become entranced with. Nevertheless, I can hardly condemn a wrier to a life of tedious enslavement to their creations solely for my pleasure. And if I were totally honest, I’d admit that often their out-of-series books surpass their series books in quality because they get a fresh infusion of creativity.

Such is certa
Jan 02, 2017 Bridgett rated it did not like it
Bottom line, this book was WAY too long. Add that to the fact it was set in a foreign country, with very difficult to read names (so many of them!), and I honestly couldn't keep track of all the characters. There were also Hebrew and Arabic words that were often not just made the book feel disjointed and hard to follow. Definitely my least favorite JK book.
aPriL does feral sometimes
This was authentic, dramatic, intense, well-written, exciting and absolutely the best book Kellerman has written. I couldn't put it down.

No Petra. No Alex. Instead, a completely different character, practicing Israeli Jew Daniel Sharavi, living at a crossroad of history, politics, culture and crime - and yet all are as old as mankind. He is a family man, a police detective, and he has learned to be politic while not being political. His friends are multicultural and multidimensional, his family
Feb 20, 2017 Becky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a typical Jonathan Kellerman. I didn't like the style or cadence of the writing.
Stephen Hayes
I've read a few other crime novels by Jonathan Kellerman and found the palled after reading three of them -- they also seemed to be similar, and got more and more predictable. So I was a bit reluctant to start this one, because it seemed inordinately long, but I wanted some light bedtime reading and it was available, and so I started it, and found it refreshingly different from mkost of Kellerman's other novels. It has different setting and different characters.

The story is set in Jerusalem in
The book started off well, but then, after drawn out introductions to each officer, their families, into the minds of the antagonist, his father, and their feelings, I found myself, midway, having second thoughts about finishing it. But the write-ups were so attractive-' A spellbinder!'- 'A roller-coaster ride!' - 'A stunning tour-de-force!' after 300+ pages I had to disagree, but then I don't get paid for my opinion.

It's not that the jewish words or culture were confusing or intimidating, I'm
Jan 31, 2014 Christopher rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book, but man was it tough to get through. I completely understand why some readers have not finished this one. Being based in Jerusalem, it makes it difficult to read if you don't know the geography, customs or the Hebrew language. I was reading it on a Kindle Fire so I was easily able to look things up as I went through it. That helped me understand a lot, but it also added a lot of time. I have NEVER taken 2 months to read a book (I only read at night before bed) and this one d ...more
Jun 28, 2013 Shani rated it liked it
A murder mystery with a serial killer on the loose in the setting of Jerusalem of the 1980s.

I am not a Jonathan Kellerman fan and started out warily on this one but soon found the description of the city engaging and the demographic mix of the men in the police team hunting the killer, captivating. The Yemenite Jewish link, of which I had been only vaguely aware previously, was interesting enough to entice me to read up more about that background. I will be reading this again as soon as I can fi
Overall as Kellerman books go, this one is pretty good. Yes we all like to read about Alex and Milo, but here were are offered different Characters with entirely different views on "the job".

I did enjoy reading things from the killers point of view, and it was nice to see some dots connecting early in the book. Also the historical view of Jerusalem in the late 1980's was interesting as well.

I did not enjoy part of the backstory on Sharavi (the lead character). I felt it was out of place and just
Dec 12, 2010 Alex rated it it was amazing
I was wary about reading this book because it wasn't an Alex Delaware story. I needn't have worried because it's the best I've read of Kellerman so far (though I have a number of novels to go yet).

He brings Jerusalem vividly to life and the city is easy to picture in your mind as he describes it so well. It's so good that I was willing the killer in the book to keep on killing - that way the book wouldn't end. Sad, I know !
Antonia Jackson
Very convoluted with big dashes of history from the viewpoint of Jew and Arab. Great expose of the UN and the lurks that go on. The baddy is certifiable, hating his Aryan mother and the Jewish heart surgeon who is his legal father. Idealises his biological father who comes from a Nazi/Aryan/
Heart surgeon background. Murders and slices across continents until caught and killed by the Jewish detective.
Bev Taylor
Dec 08, 2013 Bev Taylor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
sit down with a nearly 7600 page paperback

u will have to concentrate as it is set in the middle east and all persons names and places r in israeli, arabic or jewish. no jones', browns or whites here!

also a lot of emphasis on religion after all that is what really shapes these people, unlike here in the west

flashbacks to the earlier life of the killer all adds to the thrill

go slow - w will not regret it!

Lenny Husen
Jun 26, 2013 Lenny Husen rated it it was amazing
I read this when it came out. This is the only one of his books that I liked, as I particularly hated the smug annoying character of Alex Delaware, who is NOT in this novel, which is why this one is good.
This was simply, excellent, heart-wrenching, entertaining, unforgettable. Very entertaining. Good characters.

If anyone out there has read any other books by him that are at least 4 stars and DO NOT have Alex Delaware in them, let me know.
Mackenzie Brown
From a writer a greatly admire and enjoy - as the creator of the Alex Delaware series, this book was a big disappointment. Over 650 pages for a story that could easily have been told in less than half of that. A meandering self absorbed tale of a serial killer in Isreal, the author has attempted to bind in and explain the ongoing troubles, but it was a real effort to stick with this book until the end.

Not recommended.
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Jonathan Kellerman was born in New York City in 1949 and grew up in Los Angeles. He helped work his way through UCLA as an editorial cartoonist, columnist, editor and freelance musician. As a senior, at the age of 22, he won a Samuel Goldwyn Writing Award for fiction.

Like his fictional protagonist, Alex Delaware, Jonathan received at Ph.D. in psychology at the age of 24, with a specialty in the t
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“-a Jew had to have two synagogues. One that he went to, one that he rejected.
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