Ibrahim Zahrani is put in charge of discovering who murdered 19 women and buried them in a ritualistic pattern outside Jeddah. As he struggles to find clues in a society that denies the existence of serial killers, his mistress Sabria also disappears. With help from Katya Hijazi, a woman who longs to break out of the stifling boredom of the forensics lab, Zahrani pursues the case. Although this is a fairly well written mystery, the more exciting aspects of the novel are the looks into a society that completely segregates women from men. The range of attitudes, everyday coping skills, and glimpses of Saudi society provide an interesting window for the Western reader.
I read it as stand-alone volume, the development of many characters don't seem to be necessary, and even misleading (e.g. Mutaz), except for Safannah (the most intriguing figure, but a minor one). The location of the story and strange culture fascinated me in the beginning, and soon the crime novel's cliche set me into boredom.
I have read all 3 of her books. Excellent mysteries and interesting portrayal of another culture and the people within.
In this third book in the series, we are mainly concerned with Katya and her efforts to solve two separate mysteries, while being stressed about her upcoming wedding and whether she actually wants to be married or not. The supporting family characters and an American serial killer expert contribute to the solutions to the murders and make Katya's doubts about her wedding more intense. Nayir becomes more background and helper than a main contributor. Once the criminals have been arrested, the rest of the loose ends are summarily wrapped up. As in the other books, the details of wedding protocols are interesting as a comparison to our own complicated wedding traditions. Katya is a very sympathetic character. I wonder whether Ferraris will continue with her.
Not something I would usually pick up but was an interesting read. I agree with the previous posts that as a "who dunnit" it's just so-so, but as a story about Saudi social culture it's very interesting.
Another in the series. This is one of the better series I have run across in a long time. Katya is a modern woman living in modern day Saudi, pursuing a career within the police/homicide department solving interesting cases. What is even more interesting is the fact that she is an employed woman in Saudi where the restrictions on women are very strict and unbelievable to us in modern day Canada. Very good cultural portrayal in a very good mystery novel. Best read in order as there is a background story with Katya.
Not only was this a good mystery, but mainly I learned a tremendous amount about present-day life in Saudi Arabia. Since it was a police procedural, I learned about how modern techniques were used in the KSA also but the limitations too because of being a religious country. Mostly we saw how the protagonist, a woman, functioned in society and also in her work in the department. The books was fascinating. I plan to read the other two books by the author who was married to a Saudi and lived in the country for 12 years.
"Saudi lead inspector Ibrahim Zahrani discovers that a serial killer has been burying women's bodies in Jeddah for over 10 years. When his mistress disappears, he seeks assistance from Katya, one of the few women on the force." Next Reads Thrillers and Suspense October 2012 Newsletter http://www.nextreads.com/Display2.aspx?SID=5acc8fc1-4e91-4ebe-906d-f8fc5e82a8e0&N=556062
This is a fascinating book, although poorly written and badly flawed. The descriptions of Saudi culture are fascinating and compelling. Unfortunately, the male protangonist's angst with his 'problem' is repeated in nearly every chapter, ad nauseum. Similarly, the police procedural is unbelievable. They couldn't possibly solve crimes in their disjointed, uncommunicative little ways, and the solution to this one seems to almost drop into their laps. Nonetheless, the book is interesting and one desires a better written novel about Saudi culture.
As a mystery per se, this is nothing out of the ordinary. As a vehicle for illustrating the culture of Saudi Arabia, it's brilliant. It follows the familiar tropes of a police procedural, shattering them at the same time when you are reminded that the female characters wear veils when they leave their homes; can't have a private conversation with a male coworker; can't drive themselves around town.
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