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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 21 April 2004
I've long been looking for an Arab crime novel, and so it was with glee that I found this one (especially as I lived in Algiers for five years, where the book is set). Khadra (a psuedonym for a former Algerian army officer), has written three Superintendent Llob books, but I'm not sure where this one fits into the trilogy. Set in the mid to late-1990s, at the height of Algeria's Civil War (in which several hundred thousand people have died), when the police were targets for Islamic insurgents, the story has a viceral edge, as the hero takes his life in his hand every day when he leaves his apartment.
Both the story and the style owe more than a little to Raymond Chandler, as the disenchanted hero is tasked with tracking down the missing daughter of a powerful mover and shaker. The muscular prose tracks Llob and his sidekick as they trawl through the dregs of the city and the corrupt upper echeleons in their attempt to stay alive and find the missing girl. The story is full of twists and turns, as they deal with pimps, pushers, and perverts in order to find the truth. All against a backdrop where certain neighborhoods are off-limits to police, every rich person is slimy, and any package could be a bomb. It's a quick read, and over the top in kind of a pulpy way, but well worth it if you're interested in having your stereotypes of the Arab world shattered. This is apparently being made into a filmóhere's hoping the other Llob books appear in English soon.
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on 28 February 2014
Where to start. OK firstly I have read another book of his (The Attack) and absolutely loved it. So perhaps it's the translation of this book I have a problem with? I have links with Algeria and have been their several times so couldn't wait to read this book from an (exiled) Algerian author. However this has got to be one of the hardest books reviews I have ever given. The language was irrelevant and unnecessary. If anything it detracted from the character rather than adding substance. The story started off interesting but by the time I'd neared the end I was not enjoying the book at all. To be completely frank I wasn't even sure if I still cared who 'did it' by then. I did enjoy reading about recognisable people in Algiers but I honestly can't recommend this book. Unfortunately I have another book in the inspector Llob series but its been over a year and I still haven't wanted to start reading it. I reiterate his book 'The Attack' is fabulous therefore I do not want to do the author a disservice. For this reason only I would say read Morituri in its original language. It may be a lot better..
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