ZADDIK is the story of Dov Taylor, an ex-cop once known as “Super-Jew” for his amazing investigative skills. He finds his skills in demand again after the theft of the Seer Stone, an exquisite seventy-two-carat diamond, intended to be the dowry in a wedding uniting feuding Jewish clans. The rabbis from both clans summon Dov Taylor, for they feel that the goyim, the non-Jews, of the NYPD are not fit to handle this case. When Dov meets with the rabbis, they see the spark of his great-great-grandfather, Hirsh Leib, the zaddik or righteous man of Orlik. The diamond district of West 47th Street does not exactly welcome Dov with open arms. After all, a detective asking too many questions can be dangerous to business. Thousands of dollars can easily change hands in a matter of seconds without the government having to know. Dov must figure out who is behind this theft; is it one of the feuding clans trying to stop the marriage? Could it have been an average thief who got lucky? Or was the robbery the work of professional thieves who knew exactly what they were after? Dov must sort out all the clues, but he is presented with another problem: he has to avoid getting killed in the process.
During Dov’s investigation, he must deal with “The Magician,” a one-time Nazi who traced the history of the Seer Stone back to when one of his ancestors possessed it. He feels this magnificent diamond is his birthright, and he has been searching for it for more than thirty years. The Magician has help too. He is aided by the terrorist known as “The Cutter,” a member of the Israeli Mossad. Dov must constantly watch his back while carrying out his investigation, or face the consequences.
The complex little world of New York’s Hassidic Jews is vividly depicted by Rosenbaum. (The novel includes a glossary of Yiddish and Hebrew terms.) ZADDIK is a complex tale, and a great start for David Rosenbaum, who is already working on his second novel.