Invisible City

Invisible City

Book - 2014
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"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, journalist Julia Dahl introduces a compelling new character in search of the truth about a murder and an understanding of her own heritage"--
Publisher: New York : Minotaur Books, [2014]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781250043399
Branch Call Number: MYSTERY DAHL 2014
Characteristics: 298 pages ; 25 cm


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DBRL_IdaF Nov 15, 2017

When a young Hasidic wife and mother is murdered, a journalist finds herself drawn into the investigation and into the world in which her own mysterious mother was born and raised. Rebekah's mother left the community before giving birth to her daughter, but soon abandoned her husband and child to return to her roots. Rebekah is investigating her own past as much as the murder.

I liked the protagonist and the plot. It's an interesting exploration of the tensions between mainstream society and a significant, self-contained group that is within the culture but not really a part of it. Good search for identity and roots themes. Plus it led me to read and learn more about Hasidic Jews in the U.S.

I felt there were a confusing number of secondary characters who only appeared for a page or so each, mostly just in time to let the main character sit in their cars and engage in some exposition. Also, a truly perfunctory sex scene and one probably not necessary use of a racial slur (truly, it didn't advance the story, even if it was used to show that the heroine disapproved of it.) These were the things that prompted me to round down on my stars instead of up.

Still, the story kept me reading and I did care what was going to happen. There was enough promise in the writing I'll probably read the sequel.

faigie1836 Jun 11, 2017


Aug 19, 2016

This mystery kept me turning the pages! Not just for the interesting plot, but for the really excellent depiction of a NYC news "stringer" as she struggles to enter the hazardous world of print journalism. Her toe-hold turns out to be that her lost mother - who left her with her father as a baby - was raised in the Hasidic community. I thought the book provided an interesting look at a community I knew little about. Want to read more by this author.

Feb 27, 2016

I started to read this book, but I really felt after just getting started with it that the author threw in the "f" word way too often. After all, being a journalist she should have a better and more varied vocabulary. It just aggravated me so that I am taking the book back to the library. Too bad as the opinion from others is that it is a good story. I guess I am in the minority ? as I have very few friends that even occasionally use that word!!
It really makes me think of a teenager trying to impress others or not having many other words they can call upon. CAF

Sep 29, 2015

This is a great first book of a series, laying out the main character, Rebekah Roberts, and her inner world and personal history as well as those around her that influence her. This story takes place in January in New York. The author did a great job of bringing us into the cold and showing us Rebekah's work life and her exploration of the Hasidic community. Rebekah's development from a promising "stringer" to the reporter she aspires to be is very well done. I too find the over use of the "f" word put me off, although it's probably realistic. Julia Dahl is definitely on my list of author's whose next book I'll be waiting for.

Aug 26, 2015

Very interesting first novel. Kept my interest throughout. Looking forward to reading her next book.

Aug 23, 2015

A good first novel about two interesting premises--a young woman whose mother left her and her father when she was an infant, and her "professional" work as a journalist on her first murder case. To her surprise, the victim is a member of the Hasidic Jewish community her mother was born into, about which she knows nothing. Her own anxiety almost keeps her from doing her job. Both Rebekah and her loyal boyfriend Tony end up as sympathetic characters, as does her college friend Iris. Since this is the first in a series, I hope the sidekicks reappear.

Wolfespearl Apr 21, 2015

A good first. Rebekah Roberts catches her first murder as a reporter. She wants more than just to report on this crime; she wants to solve it. As the Hasidic community tries to hide it and ignore it, Rebekah works to find the truth as to who murdered Rivka Mendelssohn.

Mar 18, 2015

Tabloid stringer Rebekah is sent to cover the scene where a woman't body has been found. When she discovers the victim was a member of the ultra-orthodox Jewish community her interest is piqued as her own absentee mother was also a member. Rebekah gets deeper into the story when she meets an orthodox cop who knew her mother and is feeding her info. Very well drawn characters and an interesting mystery with the added intrigue of a fringe community combine to make this a very enjoyable book. Probably one of my favorites of the year so far.

Jan 30, 2015

This book is all you want to know about the Hasidic Jews and too afraid to ask. Their community is secret and clannish; very few outsiders know about this sect of Jews. Thanks to author Julia Kahl we now know. There is a house that is a refuge from the strict life of the Hasidic Jews (many secular Jews are critical of the Ultra Orthodox - I'm just saying - I don't harbor ill feelings to the Hasisic community.) written in an article in the New York Times. Author Julia Dahl did her homework and done a great job. I highly recommend it.

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