Follow Here To Purchase Oranit: Crossed Lines (Volume 1)

Author: Michael Ian Benjamin

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

ISBN-10: 1508804176: ISBN-13: 978-1508804178

In Oranit Crossed Lines Michael Ian Benjamin offers up an exciting, multilayered tale set in the Israeli settlement of Iranit in the West Bank. As pointed out in the introduction, the international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal under international law, but the Israeli government disputes this assertion.

The tale focuses on the investigation of the killing of an Arab collaborator, Mahmud who was involved in everything from construction, buying land, selling land, cheating everyone, blackmail and stealing everything. Mahmud was not exactly liked by both Arabs and Israelis and one day his body turns up near a collapsed wall in Oranit where it was presumed that he was murdered by the PLO in some sort of revenge killing for collaborating with the Israelis. And there is something else, Mahmud's body was abducted from the scene of the crime and subsequently burned in his home village. No one was ever sure how he was murdered and after a two year investigation, the case was closed or perhaps swept under the rug.

Upon further reading we discover there was a dispute concerning a wall which was constructed around a school and was absolutely essential to confirm ownership of the land, which was vital for drawing up the village boundaries. Without this wall, there was no independent village or its council and the latter was necessary to enable an independent planning and zoning committee. This committee would permit the entrepreneur and sole contractor a freer hand, which would mean less red tape. As it turns out, Oranit had an entrepreneur that won a franchise to be the only contractor of the village that was to become Oranit. The contractor could only accomplish the task by first settling many soul destroying conflicts within the planning commission and that is why it was important to establish a local council. The entrepreneur turns out to be the father of the investigator of Mahmud's death, Jeannie, who is employed by the Israeli Shabbak, once known as the Shin Bet, which is the equivalent of the British M15 or the US FBI. Jeannie is summoned by her boss Roger to reopen Mahmud's murder case after the discovery of new evidence which included the discovery of a bullet casing near the wall in the settlement.

During Jeannie's probe and teasing out of the details concerning the circumstances of Mahmud's death, all kinds of dark clouds and distressing possibilities surface including a potential link to the village council's chairman, Mitch, as well as other officials who could be involved in a variety of roguery including fraud and smuggling from Lebanon. Jeannie finds herself in a menacing world as well as in a quandary- how far should she go with her investigation and would it be better to abstain from digging too much into Mahmud's murder? What if close friends and acquaintances including her father are directly or indirectly involved in some of these shenanigans? Does she really want to know the truth?

Although the novel is not without its faults, particularly an occasional over-reliance on flash-backs and confusing scenes, it nonetheless manages to suck you into its chaotic plot. Readers willing to persevere to the gripping conclusion will see how every thread of the multifaceted yarn becomes necessary in its creation. What is quite admirable is the manner in which Benjamin has created some of his off-the-top characters realizing full well that everyone's inner life is a strange landscape. No doubt, this can be attributed to his experience and knowledge gained as a psychiatrist.

In addition, the story also raises questions, not only about the intentions and actions of the various characters, but also about the world they live in as it relates to the present-day situation pertaining to the Israeli settlements and their Arab neighbors.

Follow Here To Read Norm's Interview With Michael Ian Benjamin