Following Pashazade, this second entry in the Arabesk trilogy has Ashraf Bey, now chief of detectives in El Iskandryia, tasked with solving a string of brutal murders while dealing with political and personal intrigue. The chief suspect in the murders is Hamzah Effendi, the father of the woman Raf should have married.

In the midst of his investigation, terrorist attacks rock El Isk—a city that is already torn between religious fundamentalism and secular nationalism.

Entertaining and gripping till the end, this book pulls the reader even deeper into a fantastically detailed alternate world. Raf continues to be an utterly fascinating character, and his thorny relationship with Hani, his young ward, provides much-needed warmth in a world full of violence, intolerance and death. (Sep., 432 pp., $12.00)
Reviewed by: 
Jen Talley Exum