About the book (from the publisher): New York City 1992: a year after riots exploded between black and Jewish neighbors in Brooklyn, a black family is brutally murdered in their Crown Heights home. A teenager is quickly convicted, and the justice system moves on.
Twenty-two years later, Rebekah Roberts gets a letter: I didn’t do it. Frustrated with her work at the city’s sleaziest tabloid, Rebekah starts to dig. But witnesses are missing, memories faded, and almost no one wants to talk about that grim, violent time in New York City – not even Saul Katz, a former NYPD cop and her source in Brooklyn’s insular Hasidic community.
So she goes it alone. And as she gets closer to the truth of that night, Rebekah finds herself in the path of a killer with two decades of secrets to protect.
Told in part through the eyes of a jittery eyewitness, and the massacre’s sole survivor, Conviction examines the power – and cost – of community, loyalty, and denial.
My review: I’ve reviewed both of Dahl’s previous Rebekah Roberts novels; Invisible City, and Run You Down. And I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m a big fan. The newest, Conviction, does not disappoint. In fact, it’s riveting.
The Hasidic community, with a strong presence in Brooklyn and upstate New York, is a pivotal element in all Dahl’s novels. Rebekah’s mother, only recently discovered after being absent for most of Rebekah’s life, is a former member of that community.
The riots in Crown Heights that happened in the early nineties are a key element in this particular novel. When Rebekah receives the letter from an inmate who says he didn’t kill his family, she must find out what happened in 1992. Dahl uses narrators from the past to relate the events leading up to the brutal murder, along with Roberts’ investigation in the present. She does this extremely well, ramping up the tension until the final pages of the novel.
It’s a fascinating story, told by an excellent writer, and I guarantee you will also be riveted. If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading Dahl’s books, start with Invisible City. The books can certainly be read as stand-alone novels, but Rebekah’s journey is fascinating. There are also recurring characters who have a story to tell.
You will quickly find yourself immersed in another world.
Julia Dahl writes beautifully. This reader also loves the fact that some of the action takes place very near to where I live. How can I resist?
About the author: Julia Dahl is a journalist specializing in crime and criminal justice. Her first novel, Invisible City, was named one of the Boston Globe’s Best Books of 2014, won the Macavity, Barry, and Shamus awards, and was a finalist for the Edgar Award and a Mary Higgins Clark Award. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, and writes for CBS (dot) com.