For years, I’ve enjoyed reading mystery stories of all kinds—starting out with Encyclopedia Brown (which, unfortunately, I was never able to solve without reading the answer at the back!), and slowly advancing up to more adult mysteries with Chautona Havig and Alana Terry’s books. Enter Chosen People by Robert Whitlow. I hadn’t heard of the author before, but this mystery was well worth a read!
Note: I received an advanced reader copy of this book for free from BookLook Bloggers. Thank you, BookLook! All opinions expressed below are entirely my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. Also, some links on this page may be affiliate links. Your purchase through these links helps to keep this blog going; thank you!
About the Book:
Bestselling author Robert Whitlow returns with an international legal drama that speaks to critical issues of our day.
“Whitlow’s timely story shines a spotlight on prejudice, race, and the pursuit of justice in a world bent on blind revenge. Fans of Greg Iles’s Natchez Burning will find this just as compelling if not more so.” —Library Journal, starred review of A Time to Stand
You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation . . .
During a terrorist attack near the Western Wall in Jerusalem, a courageous mother sacrifices her life to save her four-year-old daughter, leaving behind a grieving husband and a motherless child.
Hana Abboud, a Christian Arab Israeli lawyer trained at Hebrew University, typically uses her multi-language skills to represent international clients for an Atlanta law firm. When her boss is contacted by Jakob Brodsky, a young Jewish lawyer aggressively pursuing a lawsuit on behalf of the family under the US Anti-Terrorism laws, he calls on Hana’s expertise to take point on the case. After careful prayer, she joins forces with Jakob, and they quickly realize the need to bring in a third member for their team, an Arab investigator named Daud Hasan, based in Israel.
To unravel the case, this team of investigators goes from the streets of Atlanta to the alleys of Jerusalem, a world where hidden motives thrive, the risk of death is real, and the search for truth has many faces. What they will uncover will forever change their understanding of justice, heritage, and what it means to be chosen for a greater purpose.
Have you ever found that you have to see something about a book several times before you take a good look at it? Or maybe it’s just me. Chosen People came up in one or two of the book review sites I use, but I didn’t pay a lot of attention to it until I saw it on BookLook Bloggers, as well. When I took a closer look at it—after the clean, but nice cover caught my eye—I thought it might be an interesting read. Even though it didn’t match my normal reading genres, I was interested in finding out whether I liked legal fiction or not!
And what a story! If one would expect a thriller when picking this book up, they might be disappointed. In my opinion, it was more the level of a very well developed mystery.* I was kept guessing until the very end about one character in particular—cringing when the main character was with them, trusting them, and yet wildly hoping they would turn out good in the end!
There were quite a few different elements of this story that were among my favorites. One of them was the setting in Israel; I didn’t count, but probably at least half the story is based in Israel. As a Christian, I am deeply interested in where Israel is at this point, and although we often hear conflicting news from that direction, I still believe that country has a special place in the grand scheme of things somehow. “Seeing” the country, and especially the city of Jerusalem, with both the historical context and where they are today through the lens of a novel, was fascinating. I’d love to read more books with a similar setting.
I also greatly appreciated the faith element in this story. It was quite different from what I’d call modern “American” Christianity in some respects, and I had to wonder what other influences the author had here. The focus on trusting in and relying on Jesus was a blessing, and the emphasis on a personal prayer life was also encouraging.
I can’t say I came across a lot I didn’t appreciate in this story. Yes, there was the terrorism element, which is what the main mystery centered around. It’s not nice to read about people being evil, no matter what their reasons are. I also don’t really like the fact that it sometimes (or often?) took lying by the investigators to figure out what they needed to—and it especially bugs me when Christians do that. I understand why, I just don’t think it really lines up with what the Bible teaches.
In all, as a portrait of Christians in the modern legal system, as a mystery set in modern Israel, and a Christian fiction with a slight side of romance (which wasn’t as big as I feared, and ended up being a welcome change from my normal reading fare in itself!), Chosen People was a good read.
I’m giving it four out of five stars, because while I really enjoyed it, it didn’t quite hit the “aah! that was amazing!” level for me. 🙂
*I do want to insert the disclaimer that under normal reading circumstances for me, this book would have been more gripping—it just so happens that when I read it, I wasn’t in a very good reading “mood”. If I had read it at a different time, it probably would have felt more like the thriller it’s supposed to be.
What was the last mystery you read? What is your opinion of “legal thrillers”?