First line: "Sarah Glazer raised the binoculars to her eyes and followed the movements of the young man and his dog walking down the street."
Ziv Nevo is in the wrong place at the wrong time doing the wrong thing. He is not, however, committing a brutal rape, which is the crime for which he's arrested and accused. But the mob wants him to confess to the rape so no one learns exactly what he WAS doing.
Eli Nahum is the police detective charged with solving the rape. In his gut he knows Nevo is guilty so he agrees to a biased lineup. But when the victim backs down and won't agree to testify that she's sure Nevo was her attacker, Nahum finds himself suspended from the force and the prosecutor has to cut a very lenient deal with Nevo.
And finally, Amit Giladi is the investigative reporter assigned to the rape case for his small local newspaper. Giladi is waiting for his big story, and he may just have his "Deep Throat" when he's forced to cover the rape. Resentful from the get-go, Giladi's frustration only increases as his boss forces him to pursue hopeless avenues. But when Nahum recruits Giladi to help him find the real rapist, his disposition makes a drastic change.
Lineup has a slower start as all the characters in the game are introduced, but once the momentum of the plot takes off, it's non-stop to the end. Liad Shoham juggles the perspective of the novel as the major characters--and some minor ones--each take center stage throughout the course of the investigation.
The focus of the novel is the plot and maintaining a swift pace. With the exception of Ziv, there is very little back story or character development; it's the complex puzzle of the crime that keeps the reader invested in the story. That being said, Sarah Glazer, as a minor character, almost steals the show. She brings a bit of humor to an otherwise dark tale.
Relationships between characters also take a back seat to the plot, so in several instances, some of the actions between characters seem superfluous as they don't contribute to the plot in any way.
The dialogue is sharp and flows naturally for the most part. A few awkward points are most likely due to the translation from the original Hebrew. But overall the dialogue sparks passion in the story. The intensity of the characters' emotions help to drive the plot: from Nevo's frustration and self-loathing to Nahum's outrage and determination.
Lineup is actually chock full of characters I would love to encounter again, and get to know better. Lineup is Shoham's debut in the United States. He has four additional novels out in Israel, but each is a standalone. Regardless of whether these characters make an encore, Shoham's entry into U.S. crime fiction is most definitely a welcome one. I look forward to more from him.
Lineup is available in hardcover (ISBN: 9780062237446) from Harper Collins. And my post today wraps up the TLC blog tour for Lineup. You can check out the other bloggers who participated in the tour and see their reactions to this debut as well.
Disclosure: I do some contractual work for one of the owners of TLC Blog Tours. My work does not involve this tour or any other tour I would agree to be a part of here at the blog. Nor does my work with them obligate me to a specific kind of review. The reviews are still my own opinions and reflect only my thoughts on the novels. If you care to read more, you can find more information on my Disclosure page.