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Unleavened Dead Kindle Edition
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|Length: 290 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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And no, you don't have to be Jewish to read these books.
Aviva is a rabbi of a fairly small congregation, surrounded by lots of colorful characters, including her former husband, the interim police chief, her niece and her niece's partner/soon-to-be wife (Sherry), and members of the congregation. When Sherry comes under suspicion of driving the car that hit and killed the director of the department of the local college from which Sherry had just been fired, Aviva goes into full sleuth mode to find out the truth.
The book is a fun read, told with lots of humor and a believable plot. Rabbi Aviva Cohen may not be Rabbi David Small, but she comes pretty close!
The author weaves in the details that make it easy to understand the daily trials in the life of a rabbi, and gives an understanding of life in the Jewish community without slowing down the pace of the story. I look forward to further books!
The book involves subplots of same-sex marriage, sexual abuse of young teenage girls, money laundering, stolen identities, the mob, an FBI investigation and a possible rekindled romance between Aviva and her ex-husband, the acting head of the Department of Public Safety.
Rabbi Aviva is very relatable and human. Her internal dialogues are entertaining. The day-to-day aspects of being a rabbi and dealing with temple politics are skillfully woven into the plot. The supporting characters are well-drawn. I particularly enjoyed the relationship between Aviva and her ex-husband (will they or won't they get back together).
This book is the second in the series, but it stands alone on its own quite nicely.
I received a free copy of this book to review and about one-third of the way in knew I liked it so much I bought my own copy, as well as the first in the series ("Chanukah Guilt"), and a non-fiction book ("Talk Dirty Yiddish") by the author. The Rabbi Aviva books are reminiscent of a modern version of the Rabbi David Small/Harry Kemmelman books. Fans of Faye Kellerman's Rina Lazarus/Peter Decker series might enjoy this one as well.
Even if you're not Jewish (don't worry, you'll catch on to the lingo fast), you will love this cozy mystery. Once again, good-natured but meddlesome rabbi Aviva Cohen is up to her eyeballs in mishegoss (craziness). Her niece's wife-to-be may be a killer, her ex-husband could be coming on to her, the FBI and a handsome mobster are both competing for her attention...and in mitten drinnen...it's almost Passover.
Kudos to Ilene Schneider for some of the best plotting I've come across all year. I was kept guessing who dunnit until the last chapter. I also laughed out loud several times (while guffawing to myself amost every chapter) at Schneider's wry humor. Her characters are believable, warm and will be familiar archetypes to readers of any religion, race or creed.
"Unleavened Dead" is a worthy 21st century successor to Harry Kemelman's "Rabbi" series.
I would recommend this for anyone who likes mysteries that are less about the gory details, and more about the characters. And anyone that is interested or curious about Judaism and Jewish traditions and culture. This definitely gives you a glimpse.