Run You Down
Run You Down by Julia Dahl. (Minotaur Books, 280 pp. $25.99)
In Julia Dahl’s first book, Invisible City, her central character, Rebekah Roberts, was a stringer, a rookie reporter trying to establish a foothold in a New York tabloid. After stubbornly, and intrepidly, solving a murder case, she now has enough credibility to catch a new assignment in the same ultra-Orthodox neighborhood in Brooklyn. As she continues to decipher the mores and sensibilities of the religious community–and figure out why Pessie Goldin, a lovely 22-year-old mother, was killed–she is also on a separate mission: To reconnect with Aviva, her once religious mother who had abandoned Rebekah after she was born to be raised by her non-Jewish father and his family in Florida.
In this story, too, the author, a journalist specializing in crime and criminal justice–and like Rebekah, a child of mixed parentage–has captured the nuances of the hasidic world, of those who are blindly faithful; of others who are loving and compassionate, like the murdered woman; and of some who are unhappy enough to leave the path, and even turn against the community.
As Rebekah searches for Goldin’s murderer, we finally hear Aviva’s voice as she tells her story and that of her younger brother, Dov, who has also gone of the religious path.
The mystery of the crime involves a KKK element, with its rabid anti-Semitism; the question of being gay (in both the KKK community and the hasidic); and the search for home, family and acceptance. Run You Down does a good job of finding what is lost.