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The Devil in Jerusalem

by Naomi Ragen

The Devil in Jerusalem by Naomi Ragen X
The Devil in Jerusalem by Naomi Ragen
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  • Published Oct 2015
    320 pages
    Genre: Mysteries

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There are currently 27 member reviews
for The Devil in Jerusalem
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  • Lauren T. (Orlando, FL)
    The devil in Jerusalem by Naomi Ragen
    Although I enjoyed Naomi Ragen's latest novel, it wasn't as good as her others. The story was interesting, but I didn't find the characters very believable, especially the main character. I found myself more absorbed in the character of the lead detective on Daniella's case. She was more consistent in her behavior, and I felt I understood her much better than I did Daniella or Shlomie. With that said, I have always enjoyed Naomi Ragen's books and found this a worthwhile read because I learned some things about Kabbalah and cults. Some of the descriptions of child abuse are difficult to get through, but this was still, for the most part, an enjoyable read.
  • Sbreader
    Engrossing story but difficult premise
    Devil in Jerusalem captures the reader immediately and keeps them captivated throughout the book. This is partially due to the horror of the tale being told and partially due to the effective use of multiple narrators and well written text. My hesitation about fully recommending this book is due to the the main character of the book, Daniella Goodman. At times she seems very confident and is described initially as an extremely loving and dedicated mother. So it is very difficult to understand how she transforms into her utilmate character. Naomi Ragen adds testimony at the end of the book which attempts to better describe this transition, but that testimony is also filled with contradictions . . . if in fact Daniella is so caught up with this cult that she loses her grip on reality that why does she express her regrets about being a part of it while she is still under the cult's power. It seems like you would either be completely under the spell or not and if you aren't under the spell you would certainly come to the aid of your children. This is really the part of the story that I was not sold on. While I understand Daniella's desire to find greater meaning and her being overwhelmed with the life she has chosen, i do not grasp how she turns into the monster she is described as. The author does detail Daniella's initial resistance to the messiah, but she too quickly turns over herself and her children in a completely unbelievable way. I am sympathetic to the author's desire to provide a cautionary tale about the fraudulent religious groups and how vulnerable truth seekers can be taken advantage of. But this story takes a leap that I cannot make.
  • Martha P. (Issaquah, WA)
    Not impressed
    I would have to say that this was one of the least enjoyable reads I have had in a while. Not only was the subject matter disturbing but the writing was pedestrian at best. My feeling was that the subject of cults and their abuse of children does not lend itself well to fiction. Better to write this as nonfiction and really be able to delve more deeply into the psychopathic minds and history of cult abuse. Ragen says she did extensive research but her book seems way too shallow, emotional and angry for the reader to learn much about the subject. Obviously, normal people would be repulsed by this kind of activity.
  • Joane W. (Berlin, MD)
    the devil in jerusalem
    I was very interested in reading this book since I am of the Jewish faith.I learned a lot of things that I hadn't known but in all honestly I found the book to be somewhat shocking and frightening.I have read many of Naomi Ragan's books and enjoyed them but not this one.
  • PamNC
    "There is nothing there that touches my soul."
    A quote by Sholmie about the university study of Judaism, sums up my feeling about the primary characters in this book. Daniella & Sholmie seem real and interesting in the beginning of this book. But their transitions from eager, devout, independent figures to cowed, timid, cultish figures who would allow great harm done to their children was not convincing to me. The end became a didactic on the evils of a cultic Judaism with a laundry list of abuses heaped on innocent children. It was obvious Ms Ragen had thoroughly researched this odious subject, and knew it well. The problem for me was that I could muster no sympathy here for the characters of Daniella. and Sholmie. This was surprising to me, as I had really enjoyed, and felt empathy for the characters in Ms Ragen's book, "The Sisters Weiss".
  • Gail B
    Disgusting Evil
    The Devil in Jerusalem is the gruesome story of Daniella Goodman, who feels worthless thanks to her mother's harsh criticism, and husband Shlomie, son of decent blue-collar parents, feckless dilettante scholar, who doesn't understand much about life except how to make babies and study obscure Jewish kabbalah.

    Daniella is smitten at first sight by handsome Shlomie, wants to follow him to Israel, loves the idea of motherhood but is out of her depth with seven young children, and only sporadic help from her husband. Their naivete makes them easy prey for a manipulative, cult master.

    As it stands, the book is just a revolting, sadistic fiction. Apparently, the events were well publicized in the Israeli press, but not until the Acknowledgements is the factual basis of this book made clear. Had the author begun with this information in a Prologue, the novel might have had some merit, rather than pages of gratuitous cruelty.

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