Arab Jazz

by Karim Miske

Library Journal When Ahmed Taroundat, a troubled young man, discovers the murder of his neighbor Laura Vignole, the carefully sheltered life he has built for himself over the years crumbles. Ahmed lives in the 19th -Arrondissement of Paris, where the children of Jehovah's -Witnesses, Orthodox Jews, and fundamentalist Muslims can be friends. It's a hip neighborhood featuring great food and charming bars. However, as detectives Rachel Kupferstein and Jean Hamelot investigate Laura's gruesome death, the charm of the community becomes a façade for bad behavior and a frightening new drug. VERDICT Miské's first novel, which won the -English Pen Award, redefines noir at its darkest. As the bodies pile up and the number of suspects increases, Ahmed and the French police face a daunting task. Is anyone innocent in the arrondissement? Is anyone sane? How can the flow of this terrifying drug be stemmed? Miské's ability to keep his readers on the edge of their seats and the way he handles an intricate plot without a misstep has created an amazing page-turner.-Andrea Kempf, formerly with Johnson Cty. Community Coll. Lib., Overland Park, KS © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Publishers Weekly Ahmed Taroudant, the hero of Miské's marvelous debut, is a dreamer, mystery reader, and occasional marijuana smoker. He also holds the house key to his upstairs neighbor Laura Vignola's apartment in Paris's 19th arrondissement, which should make him the prime suspect when she's murdered. Intellectual police lieutenants Rachel Kupferstein and Jean Hamelot readily dismiss him as a suspect, though, sensing his inherent gentleness. Ahmed willingly assists Rachel and Jean as well as pursuing his own lines of investigation. The three start to see connections to neighborhood Hasidic Jews and Salafist Muslims as well as Laura's own estranged Jehovah's Witness family. The crime may also be linked to a powerful new drug that has hit the streets and the potentially crooked cops who work an adjacent arrondissement. Separately and together, Miské's leads sip coffee, have cordial chats, and muse their way toward the solution. Memories, erotic fantasies, and assorted reveries drift through the pages, but Rachel and Jean are no less rigorous in their investigation than more traditional detectives. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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