City of Jackals

City of Jackals

Book - 2016
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Mourad Hafiz appears to have dropped out of university and disappeared. Engaged by his family to try and find him, Makana comes to believe that the Hafiz boy became involved in some kind of political activity just prior to his disappearance. But before he can discover more, the investigation is sidetracked: a severed head turns up on the riverbank next to his home, and Makana finds himself drawn into ethnic rivalry and gang war among young men from South Sudan. The trail leads from a church in the slums and the benevolent work of the larger-than-life Rev. Preston Corbis and sister Liz to the enigmatic Ihsan Qaddus and the Hesira Institute.

The fifth installment of this acclaimed series is set in Egypt in December 2005. While Cairo is torn by the protests by South Sudanese refugees demanding their rights, President Mubarak has just been re-elected by a dubious 88 percent majority in the country's first multi-party elections. In response to what appears to be flagrant election-rigging, there are early stirrings of organized political opposition to the regime. Change is afoot and Makana is in danger of being swept away in the seismic shifts of his adopted nation.

Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury, 2016
Edition: First U.S. edition
ISBN: 9781632863270
1632863278
Characteristics: 440 pages ; 22 cm

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gvenkatesh
May 20, 2017

This novel in the series is still readable as an escape from the typical first-world mysteries for its locale and characters. But the series seems to have peaked at The Ghost Runner and slowly heading downhill since then.

Author sets the context for each of the novels in a political/social event in the middle-east. It works when the plot is woven well into the event. It doesn't work when it is mostly incidental to the plot as in this novel just to give it the historical fiction tag. The premise of Sudanese immigrants in Egypt that supports the plot is just coincidental with Arab Spring uprising and so the descriptions of the latter are just distractions to fill the book.

Plot is thin, type-setting makes it look heftier than it is, the characters still speak too much like westerners giving it a feel of watching a movie dubbed in English and gratuitous gore seems to be included in the same way gratuitous voilence is included in movies.

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