Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Review of Dogstar Rising by Parker Bilal (Bloomsbury, 2013)
In this second outing for Makana, a refugee cop turned PI from Sudan, Parker Bilal tackles Christian/Muslim sectarianism, rising Islamic radicalism, and state security corruption in Egypt pre-9/11 head on, whilst keeping the mystery element of the story at its core. Dogstar Rising then is very much a religious/political crime thriller but one played out by relatively minor players in the everyday life of the city. That is, it’s not a political Thriller with a big T. While the case relating to the murdered children adds tension, it is the thread concerning the workings of a dysfunctional travel agency that is most interesting and takes a different path to those well worn by crime fiction tropes. Bilal does a good job of placing the reader into urban and social landscapes of Cairo and in particular its political and religious tensions. The characterisation is nicely observed, in particular the stoic Makana, who often places justice ahead of his own interests. Overall, an engaging read.