The Wolf Hunt

Israeli-American, Leela Shuster, the narrator and protagonist of the psychological thriller, The Wolf Hunt, feels overwhelmed amid rumors alleging her teenage son, Adam, murdered Jamal Jones, a black American student. Leela insists Adam is unequivocally innocent of any crime. Author Gundar-Goshen leaves that determination up to the reader.


The Shuster family moved from Tel Aviv to Palo Alto, California where Leela’ s husband Michael, developed security products for the Pentagon. Shaken when a machete- carrying terrorist attacks the community synagogue, Michael and Leela encourage Adam to join a self-defense group. Unsurprisingly Adam refuses.  


At sixteen, Adam loves playing chess, listening to hip hop, content to take his beloved dog, Kelev, for walks and mess around with his chemistry set in the garage. Krav Maga (martial arts) holds scant interest for the nerdy, shy boy. At his father’s insistence, Adam registers in a class with Uri, an Israeli martial arts instructor. Superbly qualified, Uri served in the commando unit for the IDF and parlayed his skills in America. Uri is a magnet for kids.  Adam venerates him.


A bit of a recluse Adam reluctantly accepts an invite to a house party with his buddies Boaz and Yochai. Among the guests, Adam notices Jamal Jones. Adam loathes Jamal. He has intimidated, bullied and shamed Adam for months. Adam often wished Jamal were dead. He said so openly. That evening at the party, Jamal suddenly collapses and dies.


The day investigators arrive to question the students at the school, Adam stays home, locked in his room unapproachable, sullen. When graffiti appears on the school wall claiming, “the Jew killed him” the family turns to Uri for added security. He volunteers to stay at the Shuster home whenever Michael leaves for Pentagon business. Uri’s presence does not assuage Leela’s anxiety.


 One evening Leela peers into the window of Uri’s class. She notices a poster with the class motto, “If someone comes to kill you rise up and kill him first.” Her fears escalate when Uri presents Adam with a Leatherman knife and observes kids taking hard punches at one another. When a brick shatters the house window followed by the murder of Adam’s dog, Uri becomes indispensable to the family’s imperiled lives. Michael offers Uri a job in his company. They become family. However, rumors about Adam’s culpability persist . Leela is impelled to end them.     

She makes a condolence call to Jamal’s mother stunned to find many of Adam’s “lost” personal belongings at Jamal’s home. However, she is panic stricken almost hysterical after investigator seize Adam’s computer and discover information that deeply   implicates Adam in murder. Does Leela really know her son? Who is Uri? Or Jamal?  


The Wolf Hunt is almost as immersive as Gundar – Goshen’s other two novels. But not quite.