Aviva Kagan was a just a teenager when she left her Hasidic Jewish life in Brooklyn for a fling with a smiling college boy from Florida-and then disappeared. Twenty-three years later, the child she walked away from is a NYC tabloid reporter named Rebekah Roberts. And Rebekah isn’t sure she wants her mother back in her life.
But when a man from the ultra-Orthodox enclave of Roseville, N.Y. contacts Rebekah about his young wife’s mysterious death, she is drawn back into Aviva’s world. Pessie Goldin’s body was found in her bathtub, and while her parents want to believe it was an accident, her husband is certain she was murdered.
Once she starts poking around, Rebekah encounters a whole society of people who have wandered “off the path” of ultra-Orthodox Judaism-just like her mother. But some went with dark secrets, and rage at the insular community they left behind.
I was a huge fan of Conviction, so I was extremely pleased to read Run You Down and I loved it.
The atmospheric sense of the writing is gorgeous and Rebekah is a very different and highly engaging character to follow along with. Her history and issues with her Mother form the backdrop and in Run You Down she is forced to make some decisions on her relationship with Aviva which adds a huge emotional quality to the mystery elements.
The religious aspects are fascinating and beautifully embedded into the narrative – as somebody who knows nothing about this community I found it intriguing, Julia Dahl writes such layered characters and it is an absorbing and thought provoking read.
The mystery element is cleverly unpredictable but as with Conviction the soul of the story is in the people you meet within the pages. I read this one in one sitting over a couple of hours and it was an absolutely excellent read and one that I highly recommend.
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