Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Dogstar Rising (A Makana Mystery Series) by Parker Bilal

Paperback:  Summer, 2001.

The mutilated bodies of young homeless boys are turning up in the backstreets of Cairo, and the finger of suspicion is pointing at the city's Coptic community.  As Makana, a private investigator who fled his native Sudan a decade ago, watches the embers of religious hatred begin to glow, he has a premonition that history may be about to repeat itself.

But for now, Makana has another case to solve, involving a disgruntled travel agent, stolen money, and threatening letters - an assignment that appears to point to nothing more than a family feud.  That is, until Makana meets Meera, a woman with a dangerous secret who asks for his help - and stumbles upon an unlikely link to the murdered boys.

When the travel agent's office becomes the backdrop to a brutal killing Makana is the sole witness, and he attracts the unwanted attention of not only the state security services and the police but also a disreputable Sudanese businessman - who claims to hold the key to Makana's past.

His search for answers takes him from the labyrinth of Cairo to the city of Luxor and an abandoned monastery near the tombs of the pharaohs, where he uncovers a web of intrigue, violence, and secrecy that reaches deep into Egypt's political heart.

Dogstar Rising (2013) is the second book in the excellent Makana Mystery series set in Cairo.

About the author:  Parker Bilal is the pseudonym of Jamal Mahjoub.  Mahjoub has published seven critically acclaimed literary novels, which have been widely translated, and has been awarded several prizes, including the Guardian African Short Story Prize, the St Malo Prix de l’Astrolabe, and the Mario Vargas Llosa Premio NH de Relatos.  He has also published short stories and essays.  Born in London, he has lived at various times in the UK, Sudan, Cairo, and Denmark.  He currently lives in Barcelona.

Rating:  5/5

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