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Kingdom Of Strangers by [Ferraris, Zoe]
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Kingdom Of Strangers Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Length: 320 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

Praise for the author: 'Riveting, tense psychological drama' -- Joan Smith, Sunday Times

Review

Praise for the author: 'Riveting, tense psychological drama' -- Joan Smith, Sunday Times

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1114 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus (7 Jun. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006CQQQS6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #52,941 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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Format: Kindle Edition
Kingdom of Strangers is the third crime novel in a series set in Jedda, Saudi Arabia. It follows from The Night of the Mi'raj and City of Veils. Some of the characters from the first two novels make appearances, but the novel could probably be read on its own. (That said, the novel is much more enjoyable when you know the history)

By now it is clear who is the undisputed hero of this series: Katia, a female forensic scientist, working for the police, mostly stuck in a lab, but keen to have a more active role in the investigations. (The first novel centred more around Nayir, a desert guide who got involved in a murder investigation and met Katia, but by now, Katia is the central pillar of the stories)

This time, the novel starts with the gruesome discovery of 19 dead bodies in the desert. A serial killer in Saudi Arabia - almost unheard of. And he's been busy, undiscovered, for ten years...

Meanwhile, the newly arrived inspector Ibrahim, tasked with leading the investigation, is having an affair outside marriage - and, when he turns up at his lover's flat, she is missing.

The novel is quick to set up its main plot strands, but chisels away at them at a pace that is steady, confident and not too rushed. It's not the sort of novel where each chapter ends on a cliffhanger, and each cliffhanger is more unbelievable than the last. Instead, the tension is amped up at a steady, confident pace, and the novel is engrossing all the way through.
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Format: Hardcover
There's a quote on the book cover from a Guardian review of City of Veils that makes a very perceptive observation about Zoë Ferraris' work. While her stories are great detective fiction in their own right, they are intrinsically linked to their Saudi Arabian setting - it's much more than just a colourful exotic background - the author managing through them to trace the roots of many of the crimes against women right back to the misuse of religion in a society with very different attitudes and values from Western civilisation.

That's even more the case in Kingdom of Strangers, which opens with the discovery of nineteen female bodies - all of them seemingly runaway immigrants not missed by anyone - uncovered in the sand dunes in the desert by Inspector Ibrahim Zahrani. The number nineteen also has mystical significance relating to the Quran and various other clues suggest further patterns, making this particular and unusual case of serial killing even more potentially explosive. While this is a strong central crime for investigation, Zoë Ferraris manages however to subtly show a much more extensive problem relating to the place of women within Saudi society through related cases and even through the everyday lives of her characters.

I say "subtly", but there's nothing subtle about the actual nature of the shocking treatment endured by women in Saudi society there, and indeed in some extreme cases of religious devotion, treatment that is even sanctioned and instigated by women themselves. What is subtle however is how the author manages to delve behind the veil of the burqa, mainly through Katya, a forensic scientist on the police force in an uncertain position in her life and career, and show that there is much more going on there than most men would like to believe.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read all the other books by this author. I like the crime genre but would have to say that it can be hard to find a quality novel as so many seem formulaic with some truly appalling writing. Not so with this author. The writing is good, but what really grabs my attention is how the story blends the narrative with the lived experience of being a woman in SaudiArabia. It is this that gives Zoe Ferraris the edge.
This is a great read, I could not put it down and while I initially thought oh dear, another serial killer novel, the setting of the story in Saudi gives it a welcome twist. This is one author to watch and I look forward to seeing whether she will develop beyond this genre. Highly recommended, you won't be disappointed
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Think that these novels, set in Saudi have been excellent to date and work well as crime novels and as a way of looking inside another society.

One of the things that made them brilliant was the way Zoe Ferraris wrote so dispassionately about Saudi society helping you understand how immensely different it was culturally and how easy it is for a westerner to not have a clue. By doing that you were left with a sense of shock and horror at a society that totally controls the way someone thinks, the role of women, the sense of suffocation for men and women, of a society wracked by hidden fault lines.

The only other person who I feel has done this really well is Hilary Mantell in her Eight Months on Ghazzah Street.

This time round feel she has missed a trick by using common stereotypes and is a tad lecturing. Less can be more when you complete the dots for yourself.

As a crime novel works well enough although if I was being picky would suggest some of the coincidences are over egged.

This series is really worth reading and would suggest to anyone considering it to start at the beginning of the series.

Also to buy the paperback rather than the Kindle version as you will really want to lend this to your friends.
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