“How do you go from being a simple traffic engineer to the puppet for a gang of religious zealots running the country – and possibly one of the most evil men in the world?” – The Book of Zev
 BookofZevcover10-1-14-JPEG-620x930For New York University writing professor, Marilyn Ida Horowitz, a three-hour chance encounter with a stranger on a train, a disenfranchised religious Jew searching for a community he would be comfortable living in resulted in her timely first novel, the political thriller The Book of Zev. (Köehler Books: December 1, 2014, ISBN 978-1-940192-78-9).

The story follows 32-year-old virgin Zev Bronfman, an atheist and refugee from a religious Washington DC Jewish community. Now a New York City cab driver, he falls for beautiful, God-hating, yoga-practicing kosher chef Sarah Hirshbaum. Depressed yet hopeful, Sarah vacillates between too much red wine and the purifying effects of yoga.

Not only do Zev and Sarah share the same psychic who connects them, they soon find themselves struggling against time to stop an Iranian terrorist.  He’s half-Jewish and more than half-mad, believing he’s the 12th Imam and intent on blowing up the United Nations and Israel. With a push from the Mossad and others along the way, it’s up to Zev and Sarah to thwart his plans.

Horowitz, an award-winning Professor at New York University (NYU), believes that beyond the exciting plot structure, The Book of Zev is about free will – the gift that God gives us, but that we don’t understand or appreciate.

“The book’s suspense doesn’t just come from stopping a terrorist,” said Horowitz. “It’s a thriller about God, about Jews and Arabs, and the inner conflicts of the character’s belief systems. Will they do the right thing based on what they believe? I believe Edmund Burke summarized our human responsibility best: ‘the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’ I hope it makes the reader think, ‘what would I do in the same circumstances?”

Horowitz grew up in a world of contradictions herself. Her half–Conservative and half-Orthodox Jewish family kept kosher, she had Bat Mitzvah. The importance of religion was discussed around the dinner table. While both sets of Horowitz’s grandparents were religious, her parents never revealed the fact that they were atheists. Even as a child, Horowitz echoed Sarah Hirschbaum in her dislike of the traditionally subordinate role women have played in Judaism.

For Horowitz, the journey of writing The Book of Zev included using her trademarked writing method, The Horowitz System®. The first draft was very close to the final work, taking far less time than the trial-and-error method most novelists use. Horowitz has successfully employed her system to help novelists and screenwriters. Two of her scriptwriting books are used as text books at New York University.

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