The Ghost Runner

The Ghost Runner

A Makana Mystery

Book - 2014
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It is 2002 and as tanks roll into the West Bank and the reverberations of 9/11 echo across the globe, tensions are running high on Cairo's streets.

Private Investigator Makana, in exile from his native Sudan and increasingly haunted by memories of his wife and daughter, is shaken out of his despondency when a routine surveillance job leads him to the horrific murder of a teenage girl. In a country where honor killings are commonplace and the authorities seem all too eager to turn a blind eye, Makana determines to track down the perpetrator. He finds unexpected assistance in the shape of Azza, a woman who seems to share Makana's hunger for justice.

Seeking answers in the dead girl's past he travels to Siwa, an oasis town on the edge of the great Sahara Desert, where the law seems disturbingly far away and old grievances simmer just below the surface. As violence follows him through the twisting, sandblown streets and an old enemy lurks in the shadows, Makana discovers that the truth can be as deadly and as changeable as the desert beneath his feet.

Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury, 2014
Edition: First U.S. edition
ISBN: 9781620403402
Branch Call Number: BILAL P
Characteristics: xi, 413 pages ; 22 cm


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May 18, 2014

An intricate plot set in Egypt in the aftermath of 9/11 intertwined with the social and political turmoil in the region. The subject matter and views of characters might be unpalatable to some insular US readers. Such readers will likely never get past the prologue which appears to have been written specifically to weed out such audiences! The open minded readers who get past it will be rewarded with an absorbing even if messy tale that almost descends into the noir category. The plot is a bit predictable but the context of the country and its society offers a refreshing change from the usual first world mysteries. There is one fatal flaw in writing style that keeps it from being seriously considered a literary work. While it is difficult to provide a credible English dialect to the main characters who presumably would not know English, the author puts too many Western idioms into the dialog with silly translations such as - "he was doing Allah knows what". This detracts from the authenticity of the characters who, because of it, will seem like local characters in a movie played by Western actors wearing suitable makeup. The author could have structured the dialog with local idioms and linguistic patterns as good literary works do.


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