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Matt Rees

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A Grave in Gaza
by Matt Rees   

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Books by Matt Rees
· The Collaborator of Bethlehem
· Cain's Field: Faith, Fratricide, and Fear in the Middle East
· The Samaritan's Secret
                >> View all



Publisher:  Mariner Books ISBN-10:  0547086253


ISBN-13:  9780547086255

A Grave in Gaza on

Omar Yussef and his boss,Magnus Wallender, travel to the Gaza Strip for a routine inspection of the UN schools in the Gaza refugee camps.Upon their arrival they meet James Cree, the UN security officer for Gaza, who informs them that a teacher at one of their schools has been accused of spying and imprisoned. As they try to free the teacher and keep a lid on an explosive political situation, they are pulled into a confrontation with Gaza’s warring government factions and the criminal gangs with which they are connected.Omar Yussef confronts the dark elements of Gaza—dirty politics, bribery, assassination, and kidnapping—in his struggle to free the innocent and honor the dead.

Professional Reviews

The Sunday Telegraph (London)
Matt Rees's endearing protagonist, Omar Yussef, is not a detective, but a seeker of truth and justice, both of which seem impossible to find in The Saladin Murders. Omar has left his home in Bethlehem, where he is principal of a UN school, to accompany a Swedish UN official on an inspection of the organisation's schools in Gaza. Within hours of their arrival he discovers how dangerous the place is. One of their teachers has been arrested, after accusing the university of selling degrees to members of the Preventive Security Force, who use them to get promotion. Warring factions, each led by notoriously corrupt and brutal men, commit horrific crimes in their battle for power, and little Omar, overcome at times by rage and desperation, finds himself fighting to save not only the imprisoned teacher but his own life. Rees has created a stunning sense of place and memorable characters for his impassioned story.

The Economist
In its vivid portrayal of the violence and degradation of the Palestinian enclave of Gaza, Matt Rees's second book, "The Saladin Murders", is outstanding. His hero, Omar Yussef, a Bethlehem schoolteacher, is a recovering alcoholic in his fifties, physically frail but possessed of a steely moral core. At the start of the book he is sent to Gaza on an apparently straightforward school inspection. When a fellow teacher is arrested as a CIA spy by the sinister Palestinian security forces, Yussef ignores advice to leave. He is quickly drawn into a deadly game where disputes are settled by gun battles and car bombs. Brutal, corrupt warlords torture and murder at will, while the khamsin, the hot, dusty desert wind, blows hard, turning the sky yellow and filling the air with choking sand. The Israelis barely feature in this dark, gripping and often moving book. Gaza, it seems, is a hell in large part of the Palestinians' own making.

Le Figaro (Paris)
Omar Yussef returns. Here is the Hercule Poirot of the Near East immersed in the Gaza Strip. With this second volume in the Omar saga, Matt Rees confirms his mastery of the genre. We await the third with impatience. Insh'allah!

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