Cover image for The wish to kill
The wish to kill
Hannah, Janet, 1939-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Soho Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
228 pages ; 20 cm
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Format :


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Material Type
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Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense

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Dr. Alex Kertesz is a biochemist. Handsome, popular -- with everyone except his flamboyant wife -- and brilliant, he is the opposite of Professor Ilan Falk, whose body he discovers one night in a University of Jerusalem Laboratory. Kertesz had just been wishing that Falk would "go to hell" and then there was an explosion. The dead man was inclined to be careless, and lighting a cigar in a lab would be nothing short of suicidal. But was the explosion really accidental? Falk had many enemies for whom his demise was uncannily timely. One, his beautiful Lab assistant, Shoshana, confides her worry to Alex. She had wished that Falk would die exactly as he did. "He could easily leave the gas on someday and Light one of those smelly cigars. Wouldn't that be great!" she'd thought. Kertesz, the paradigmatic scientist, is forced to consider the possibility that wishes might actually be able to kill.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

First-novelist Hannah has hit upon an engaging premise: a mystery series starring a research scientist working at the University of Jerusalem. Alex Kertesz is a handsome DNA researcher with a bad marriage, a good kid, and a lab full of in-fighting colleagues. When one of the latter is killed in an explosion in his lab, the official verdict is accidental death, but Alex is intrigued by the testimony of another colleague that she has the power to wish someone dead. This bit of mysticism troubles the scientist and prompts him to launch an investigation. Hannah throws multiple balls into the air here, and although she manages to catch only a few of them, most readers will cut her a little slack. She has the makings of a good series: a sympathetic hero and an intriguing, nicely evoked setting (both Jerusalem and the research lab). Her failings--leaving subplots dangling, failing to develop the "wish to kill" idea--are remediable with experience. Give Alex Kertesz a chance; not every experiment works the first time. --Bill Ott

Library Journal Review

Much of this unusual first novel in a new series centers around the unscientific notion that malicious thoughts can cause a person's demise. After a particularly hateful professor at the University of Jerusalem dies in a supposed biochemistry lab accident, a lab neighbor, Alex Kertesz, discovers that several peopleÄhimself includedÄwished the man dead. Alex begins a rather meandering investigation into the professor's death, eventually trapping another scientist in attempted murder. Alex's home life, meanwhile, presents unique challenges. Lacking the intensity of most murder mysteries, this book instead focuses on mood and atmosphere. For larger collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.