Let's see if I have this right. In Michael Chabon's novel, the U. S. dropped a bomb on Berlin in '46, and there is no state of Israel. Instead, the U. S. established a temporary resettlement zone for Jews in and around Sitka, Alaska.
Now it's Now, and it's time for the Jews to be moved out. There'll be no permanent home for them in Alaska. This will mean big shake-ups in everything, including the police force. Meanwhile, there's been an execution-style murder in a seedy Sitka hotel. It just happens to be the hotel were Meyer Landsman lives, and it just happens that his ex-wife is has just been named police chief. She kills the case.
Well, even in alternate universes, you can't kill a case when a bulldog cop is on it. Landsman carries on and winds up in a morass of plot that gets so complex that even Chandler might admire it. Everything's connected (string is a metaphor).
While I have some quibbles with the plot and with the novel's pacing, I enjoyed it. Chabon's having a fine time for himself here in his imagined world, and there are plenty of laughs. Also plenty of hat tips toward other mystery novels. Worth a look if you want something different from the same old thing. I kept thinking, for some reason, of The Adventures of Augie March. Chabon's playing in Bellow's league, I believe. See what you think.