(photo credit: Courtesy)
“The Spy’s Gamble” races through actual events in Israel in 2016-2017. As author Howard Kaplan has done in his earlier thrillers, he moves fictional characters through recent headlines and unearths details not previously reported. In this, his fourth novel, early on, we witness the tragedy of Shuafat, the forgotten UNRWA Arab refugee camp in East Jerusalem so tempestuous that is unsafe for Israeli fire fighters to enter. Kaplan portray a young local Palestinian civil rights and youth group leader, Baha Nabata, who trained with Israeli fire fighters and returned to Shuafat to teach volunteers there how to extinguish blazes. Near midnight in May 2016, Nabata and many of his followers were repairing the main road, when a motorcyclist raced by him and fired ten bullets at Baha Nabata – seven struck him and ended his life. Beloved by the youth who followed him like a pied piper, yet others in the UNRWA camp deemed him a collaborator.