Death in Shangri-La (A Dotan Naor Thriller)


Ex-Security Agency operative Dotan Naor barely sets foot back in Israel when he learns that his friend Willy, a hardened gun dealer, has been murdered in India.  Add to that, a terrorist attack, targeting young Israeli tourists in India, is rocking the Israeli government and press. When beautiful Mossad agent Maya Kfir turns up at Dotan’s door needing his expertise, he is dragged back to India. He must discover what happened to his friend and how Willy’s murder is connected to the terrorist attacks. A yoga enthusiast, Dotan tries to keep himself centered in a world of violence and deceit. He also knows it’s a bad idea to get involved with the beautiful Mossad agent he is partnered with, but that might not matter in the end.

“Death in Shangri-La,” translated from Hebrew, is narrated in both the first person of Dotan’s voice and the third person for the terrorist attacks. Dotan’s voice has the wonderfully cool, gritty, slightly detached feel of Sam Spade. As Dotan introduces Maya to both the beauty and underbelly of India, the reader is swept into the sights, sounds and smells of India, both good and bad. At times, the depth of those descriptions, beautiful as they are, slows the plot, and because the main characters arrive fully developed, there is little character growth. As a result, the relationship between Dotan and Maya feels like an afterthought.  The shifting point of view makes the timeline somewhat hard to follow.  Those caveats aside, the story is a fascinating, breathtaking journey through a world and culture few will ever experience. An enjoyable read.

Marc Joseph