Friday, February 14, 2014

Book Review - "Mistaken Enemy" by Dennis A Nehamen and a few orders of business

I got this book for free in exchange for an honest review

Zach Miller is a struggling writer, so when his friend Preston calls him, with a lead for an intersting story his curiosity is peaked. Zach finds himself in Mescalero, a tiny town on a reservation in New Mexico. The person that Preston found is mysterious young boy named Jivin. Though he is only 12 years old he holds court in his mom's diner where everyone treats him with reverence and respect. After a bit of a dustup with some other locals, Zach and Jivin meet.  Jivin tells Zach that he has a mission for him.

Zach is supposed to go to Israel. Zach is skeptical since he knows nothing about Israel, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and has no desire to get involved at all. Besides, he protests, it's not like he's Jewish (foreshadow). Jivin refuses to give Zach any clues as to what his mission in Israel might be. He's just supposed to go to Israel and he will figure it out when he figures it out. Despite the craziness of it all, he decides to go. His mom, upon hearing his travel plans, is very upset (though she still lends him the money he asks for). He doesn't know why she is so upset, and since she doesn't exactly volunteer any information he goes anyway.

Zach finds himself on his halfway across the globe plane trip sat next to a man named Amir. Amir is a Palestinian living in Israel who tells Zach that he plans on being "the next big thing" in cinema. Zach sees a clip of his work and thinks that maybe Amir is being a little overly optimistic. However, they have an enjoyable time together and Amir offers a warm invitation to have Zach stay at his familial home. Zach says he will consider it, but when they part ways leaving the plane Zach suspects they probably won't meet again.

Zach spends the first few weeks in Israel sight seeing, trying to get a little educated about Israel, and waiting for this mission of Jivin's to fall out of the sky and show itself. Since that really isn't happening Zach calls Amir to take him off on his offer, I think more out of boredom than anything. Amir is STOKED that Zach has called and can't wait to show him around. When Zach arrives at the family home he's in shock. It's palatial, these people have tons o money. Amir's mother and father welcome him warmly but Zach is most taken by the appearance of Amir's sister, Bahlya. Bahlya is beautiful and smart but also very political (she has a lot of hate for the Israelis).

Zach spends the next two months basically living the palace life, and trying to make some headway with Bahlya (the girl is a major tease, so this is pretty much futile on his part.) Things start to get a little bit strained when the siblings really start to try to indoctrinate Zach with their political beliefs. He meets their vaguely threatening friends, and witnesses some surprising violence which starts to make him uneasy, where he usually tolerated their soap-boxing.He begins to suspect there is something deeper at work.

One night Zach is at the mansion by himself and decides to do a bit of snooping (this never ends well, ever!) In his snooping he finds out a couple of things that horrify and astonish him. He immediately knows that he needs to get out of Israel. The next day he makes up an excuse about a sick mother and heads to the airport...he doesn't get there. What follows includes, back stabbing, shocking family secrets, torture, kidnapping, political intrigue,espionage and all kinds of dire straits.

I have some small criticisms.

- Zach is a bit contradictory. The first part of the book he calls bookstores "fossils" but he's a writer and one of his first stops in Israel is a bookstore. He also says he tries to never borrow money from his mom and then three breaths later is borrowing money for a cockamayny (sp?) trip. Not a writing criticism per say, maybe he's just a contradictory fellow.
-It was hard to cheer for a Zach/Bahyla hookup because her character was just so grating. She must have been a super fox for Zach to look past all of her issues.
-The book is told from Zach's perspective reflecting back, which confused me once or twice.
-It took me quite awhile to get into it. I wasn't buying what Jivin was selling.

I give the book a 2.5 out of 5. It's a political thriller but it's also a bit of a fish out of water story with bits of not completely fleshed out paranormal/fantasy-ish elements. If you enjoy reading about Middle East politics I think this book will intrigue you.

Last Saturday I did a review of Gibbin House which also had a giveaway.

The Closed the Cover website was down for a chunk of this week so if you encountered problems trying to enter the awesome giveaway before please try again. However it closes tomorrow so act fast!

So Monuments Men finally came out and I'm going to see it this weekend. If I'm real ambitious there will be a movie review Monday. If Im less ambitious look for a mini review tagged onto another post next week.

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