Review: Rubby Jam by Daniel Sadikov

I realised that a crossroad is a gift, because it gives you the option of choosing a path, and I had turned into a more cautious gambler.
Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 

What’s This Book About?

Genre: Contemporary/Romance/Thriller

Synopsis: When the life of his beloved girlfriend is in danger, he will do anything to save her. After a chance meeting, the everyman Eric falls for Estie, a gorgeous, free-spirited stripper living on the edge. Her uninhibited world, so different from his, intrigues him, and he is curious to find out more.

Their relationship is initially electrifying, but gradually Eric is drawn deeper into Estie’s shadowy world, and decides not only to observe, but to also partake. He dabbles in drugs, but addiction was not part of his plan.

When Estie’s health suddenly fails, Eric takes a huge risk to save her life and becomes entangled in a crime that might cost them their freedom.

What I Thought:

Originally written in Hebrew and set in Tel Aviv, it’s a gritty blend of contemporary, romance and thriller genres featuring an impressively well-written protagonist.

The nuanced characterisation of Eric, our main character, was the most memorable and enjoyable aspect of this novel, and is partly the reason why I view this primarily as a contemporary. Over the course of the story, I travelled from initially harbouring a distinct dislike for Eric (vastly preferring the vibrant Estie), to the polar opposite. Eric’s character growth was really well-paced, in-character and utterly convincing, and throughout the novel he unfailingly reads as a very realistic person. Through Eric’s eyes, as a Tel Aviv native, it was also intriguing to read from a local’s perspective. There weren’t any overtly political comments, other than the occasional mention of failures in the healthcare system – a point integral to the plot.

This was also a surprisingly hilarious read! I often found myself snorting to myself, if not laughing outright.

The problem with carrying out a robbery with a dog is that you can’t really sit down and plan it with him.
The ending was unexpected, but I liked it as I’m a big fan of contemporaries that don’t lose touch with reality. The final chapters did feel slightly rushed, though. If I had to choose, I’d have preferred less of the romance plot and more on the crime/aftermath, as Eric/Estie was essentially insta-love anyway. Their relationship is essential to the narrative, but I wasn’t engrossed in it half as much as when I was reading the actual drugs/police/hurtling around the streets of Tel Aviv with bags of cocaine scenes.

Overall, an impressive debut and worth a read. Bonus points for such a striking cover on the English-language edition!

Thank you to the author for a gifted copy in exchange for an honest review.

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