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“Effendi ”

Written on: 30/06/2005 by Harriet Klausner (18637 reviews written)


Jon Courtenay Grimwood

Bantam, Sep 2005, $12.00, 432 pp.

ISBN: 0553587447

His Excellency Pashazade Ashraf "Raf" Bey has been selected as the detective chief of El Iskandryia at a time when the Ottoman Empire is divided between religious fundaments and secular nationalists. However, Bey tries not to concern himself at the moment with extremists from either side though he knows not to ignore danger that might follow from zealots. Instead his focus is a brutal serial killer who mutilates his victims.

Clues point towards businessman Hamzah, owner of Hamzah Enterprises. Complicating the case for Raf is that he falling in love with Zara, the daughter of his prime suspect starting from the moment she gave a coat to his ward Hani. However, while struggling with an investigation that increasingly looks like he will arrest the man who he would like as his father-in-law, Raf also must deal with assassinations, explosions and abductions terrorizing the residents of El Isk.

EFFENDI, the sequel to the delightful police procedural PASHAZADE is quite different in plot design as the who-done-it shares billing with terrorism and political and religious intrigue. The key to why this novel and its predecessor are worth reading lies in Jon Courtenay Grimwood's ability to paint a realistic futurist alternate universe in which the Ottoman Empire is the superpower as it has been for centuries. Raf is a terrific protagonist struggling with his personal life interacting negatively on his official duties. With cross genre appeal, EFFENDI is a strong speculative fiction.

Harriet Klausner

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