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Reviewed by Scott Cahan for Readers' Favorite
Judenrein by Harold Benjamin is a high octane thriller set in a near future that seems far-fetched on the surface but, in reality, is possibly more probable than we realize. The book is set in a United States where Jews have been rounded up and forced to live in certain neighborhoods, surrounded by guards. It’s for their protection, they’re told. It’s not quite as bad as a Nazi concentration camp but seems to be a step in that direction. When a cryptic message reaches one of the Jewish districts saying a large scale terrorist attack is coming their way, the Jewish leaders bring in Zach Gurevitz, a Jewish man who was formerly a special forces soldier in the military. Zach is the obvious hero of this book, but he’s not your typical Hollywood action star. When they find Zach, he’s living on the streets of Chicago, unemployed and struggling with heroin addiction. He is manipulated into helping the Jewish community that had rejected him in the past. He reluctantly takes on the mission, but he does it his way, playing by nobody’s rules but his own. It doesn’t take Zach long to figure out that nothing he’s been told about the mission is as it should be, and nobody can be trusted.
I had a blast reading Judenrein by Harold Benjamin. The plot is intelligent, showing the author’s keen understanding of the workings of military special forces as well as the F.B.I. Not only is the plot smart but it’s also really exciting. It has fast-paced action to spare, keeping the reader guessing from start to finish. The plot sports twists and turns throughout that made it hard for me to put the book down. However, the stellar plot is not the only thing Judenrein has going for it. The main character, Zach, is an intricate hero that feels completely relatable. He's like a best friend who at times you want to cheer for when he pulls the wool over the bad guys’ eyes, and other times you want to cry for him when you see him suffer because of his tragic past. Thriller fans who love a great plot with an even greater hero will find much to love in Judenrein.