Book Review: Invisible City by Julia Dahl

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 quickly turns into investigator as she is assigned to cover the murder of a member of the Hasidic community in Brooklyn, NY.  A culture that has always intrigued her, as her mother who abandoned her when she was little, was a member of this very community.  But that very culture holds their secrets tight and is wary to outsiders.

I won’t get more into the details as you can read the blurb from Amazon at the end, but I guess I just never liked that Rebekah was a reporter.  This is totally personal preference, but I can’t help but think if I were a member of the community, the last person I would want to talk to is a reporter, for a tabloid!  I felt uncomfortable for her, as it is beyond my comprehension to approach people in their time of grieving.  She is good at fitting in and getting the information, but she takes on more of an investigator role, which I think would have been more fitting for the book.

Again, just my opinion, and maybe a little discomfort in reading is good.  I enjoyed the tidbits thrown in about her mother and really liked discovering more about her past along with her.  The characters were all very well described and the book, while slow at times, definitely kept you guessing and hanging on til the very end to figure out who did it.

And then the ending, well without spoiling it, left a lot to be desired.  As I read the subtitle (A Rebekah Roberts Novel), I’m guessing there may have been some before and will definitely be some after.  I’m just not a big fan of series either.  So I’ll end it here as I don’t like to be negative, it was a good story, kept me interested, just frustrated I guess!

Description from Amazon:

Just months after Rebekah Roberts was born, her mother, an Hasidic Jew from Brooklyn, abandoned her Christian boyfriend and newborn baby to return to her religion. Neither Rebekah nor her father have heard from her since. Now a recent college graduate, Rebekah has moved to New York City to follow her dream of becoming a big-city reporter. But she’s also drawn to the idea of being closer to her mother, who might still be living in the Hasidic community in Brooklyn.

Then Rebekah is called to cover the story of a murdered Hasidic woman. Rebekah’s shocked to learn that, because of the NYPD’s habit of kowtowing to the powerful ultra-Orthodox community, not only will the woman be buried without an autopsy, her killer may get away with murder. Rebekah can’t let the story end there. But getting to the truth won’t be easy—even as she immerses herself in the cloistered world where her mother grew up, it’s clear that she’s not welcome, and everyone she meets has a secret to keep from an outsider.

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.

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