From Publishers Weekly
Khadra's third Inspector Llob mystery (after 2005's Double Blank
) searingly portrays present-day Algeria's brutal realities. Llob faces expulsion and death threats after writing—under the pen name Yasmina Khadra—a series of books detailing Algeria's civil war and corruption from the inside out. This narrative doubling, which might seem overly postmodern in another story, deepens the menace hanging over Llob. Following the funeral of one of Llob's oldest friends, killed by the radical Islamists who are waging war on the Algerian government, Llob lives through bombings, terrorist attacks and waves of threats from superiors who could have him killed without the slightest repercussion. Like an existential novel, Llob's book aims to speak hard truths in simple language, and there's more than a touch of Camus in its bleak view of a society in which power and cruelty are synonymous. Khadra is the pseudonym of Mohammed Moulessehoul, an Algerian now exiled in France and best known as the author of The Swallows of Kabul
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
(2003) and Double Blank
(2004), the third book featuring Algiers police superintendent Brahim Llob isn't a detective story. It's a story about a detective who has reached the end of the line emotionally as well as, it seems from the second chapter, professionally. Llob is back in his hometown for the burial of an old friend murdered as a warning--"Hi, we're back!"--by Islamic fundamentalist freebooters, and to console the victim's broken brother, one of Algeria's greatest painters. He returns to work in Algiers only to find that he has been "retired" because of that book he wrote under a woman's name (Mori
turi). For the rest of this book, friends and not-exactly-friends commiserate with him, he encounters gloating superiors and at least one wealthy shitheel he once grilled, a goon tails him, and he survives a bomb blast. Llob's despair over what fundamentalism has made of Algeria keens throughout, and readers hoping for a continuing series are bluntly disabused in the end. Powerful, anguished, and anguishing stuff. Ray OlsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved