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Shake Off
Mischa Hiller

Hachette Audio
August 24, 2012 / ASIN: B008XDYIPY
Mystery/Thriller / Audiobook - 8 hours, 28 minutes

Reviewed by Jo Rogers

Shake Off is the story of a Palestinian refugee whose family had been murdered by extremists. Michel Khoury was alone as a child of nine, and placed in foster care. He is recruited, educated and trained by a man named Abu Leila, an officer in the PLO, close to Yasser Arafat. He tells Michel his work in learning many languages will help the PLO end the conflict with the Israelis in the Gaza Strip.

Michel is content with his life, traveling from one country to another to learn the skills that will keep him and the packages he carries safe from “the competition,” as Leila likes to call the Israelis. While he lives in London, he meets and falls in love with Helen, who lives in the apartment next to his. This complicates things, as he cannot tell her the truth about himself. She senses the lies and hates that he doesn’t quit lying. Still, she has lied about her own life, so neither can complain about the other.

Then, an envelope arrives for Leila, by a circuitous route. The courier is detained by the Israelis on the return trip. His wife smuggles the package out. Then, things go really wrong.
Shake Offis well plotted with a strong, well-developed protagonist. However, with the exception of Helen, the other characters are not as well developed. They lack the fine details that make them fully human. In the case of Abu Leila, this was a necessary shortcoming, since to reveal his story would be revealing the end of the story. Over all, it is a good story, well worth the listening time. Reader Fleet Cooper does a terrific job of making even Abu Leila come alive for the listener. Give Shake Off a listen and enjoy a good spy thriller.

Reviewer's Note: sex, violence, profanity
Reviewed 2012