Passport to Death (Dotan Naor #2), by Yigal Zur

Seven stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to Yigal Zur and Oceanview Publishing for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

When Yigal Zur approached me to read another of his novels, I was intrigued and interested yet again. His Dotan Naor series caught my attention before and with another adventure, there is sure to be a great deal more action. Dotan receives a call that his services are needed in Thailand to help find a missing woman, Sigal Bardon. Landing in Bangkok, Dotan is reminded of the many other times that he has come here over the years. While his initial search is to locate the body of Sigal, he soon discovers that things may not be that simple. In a country where people come to disappear or are made to vanish, answers are elusive. As he juggles the open drug and prostitution trades, Dotan trips upon a lead or two that lead him in a certain direction. Itching to know more about who sent him this mission, he speaks to his colleague, who is anything but forthcoming. However, with a decent sized Israeli population in the city, Dotan soon learns that this may be a game of cat and mouse he wished he never entered. There are some dangerous men around, any of whom might have taken Sigal for their own reasons. As more bodies pile up, Dotan wants to finish the investigation and flee back to the safety of Israel. Sigal Bardon had her reasons for coming to Bangkok, but is her disappearance entirely of her own doing as well? A worthwhile thriller read, though I was not entirely pulled in as much as I would have liked.

I try to keep an open mind when it comes to reading, as one never really knows when the next great book with cross your path. While I was not as drawn into Zur’s piece as I would have liked, there were some great aspects that cannot be discounted. The setting for much of the story is Thailand, that elusive country whose laws differ greatly from much of the Western World. Zur depicts it with such detail that I felt I was there at times, strolling the streets and never quite sure what I would find. The narrative is full of colourful language and off-hand comments that I cannot say enough about how well the story developed from this point of view. The story itself was decent, with a missing girl and am investigator set to find her. I found myself losing some interest with the meandering nature of the piece. I wanted to feel more connected and possessing more care for everyone involved. This is just an opinion, but I do remember relying the same way the first novel I tried by the author. With short chapters and a quick story overall, this was not a painful read, but left me feeling as though I needed more to satisfy my reading experience.

Kudos, Mr. Zur, for another decent book. I may opt out from further pieces, but I will let others enjoy your writing for themselves.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge:

Death in Shanghai-La, by Yigal Zur

Seven stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to Yigal Zur for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

Approached by Yigal Zur to read this thriller, I jumped at the opportunity to expand my horizons. Set in both Israel and India, the story encompasses both cultures intensely, giving the reader a literary smorgasbord on which to feast. Dotan Naor enjoys life in Israel, running a somewhat profitable business returning individuals who have been displaced against their will. When he is approached by a long-time friend, Naor agrees to help, though his latest target is less than eager to make the journey back from India. As the story progresses, Naor returns from India, though he’s hit a snag when the target is incarcerated for trying to traffic drugs. Just as he gets settled, Naor is informed that a friend has been found in India, decapitated at the hands of a band of terrorists. It would seem that there are a few cases of Israelis being killed by this roving group of rogues. As emotionally attached as Dotan Noar feels, he refuses to return to India—a place about which he knows a great deal—happy to have two feet planted on Israeli soil. However, the story has been garnering a great deal of press and Naor is convinced to travel across the world to get answers. Armed with his journalist, Naor travels to the rural part of the country, crossing into the contested zone between India and Pakistan. Seeking answers, Naor finds himself in Kashmir, trying to understand the struggles and what might have fuelled a ferocious attack on his friend. Working through the cultural differences in a far-away land, Dotan Naor will try to bring answers home without becoming an Israeli statistic, if he can help it. An interesting thriller that seeks to open the reader’s mind, Yigal Zur has done a decent job. While this novel did not resonate fully with me, I can see the allure for others.

I always enjoy opening my mind to new authors and cultures, particularly when the story pulls me in from the outset. While I cannot say I am fully sold, the thrills were high and the banter such that many will surely find much to enjoy in Zur’s work. Dotan Naor proves to be an interesting character, whose experiences helping those in need shapes both his personality and development as a character. The reader will be able to find something of interest as they seek to better understand this man in both his natural and adopted environs. The other characters that surround him prop Naor up and fleshes out the nuances in his character. The story proves decent, serving to introduce the reader to the wonders of India, as well as the intricacies of the local political situation. Zur draws on both the caste situation in India and the religious clashes with Pakistan’s large Muslim population, both of which help to add additional flavour to the narrative. The thrills occur throughout, with a murder investigation in full swing. The reader is pulled into the middle of it all with this high-impact story. I did find myself less than fully enthralled, but it could just be me having an off day. I suspect that others will enjoy this novel, brief and full of action, even if I had my own difficulties.

Kudos, Mr. Zur, for this interesting novel that spans two very different cultures.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: