In this fresh, absorbing Egyptian mystery, Makana, a former Sudanese police inspector forced to flee to Cairo, is now struggling to make ends meet as a private detective. In need of money, he takes a case from the notoriously corrupt mogul Saad Hanafi, owner of a Cairo soccer team, whose star player, Adil Romario, has gone missing. Soon, Makana is caught up in a mystery that takes him into the treacherous underbelly of his adopted city, encountering Muslim extremists, Russian gangsters, vengeful women, and a desperate mother hunting for her missing daughter-a trail that leads him back into his own story, stirring up painful personal memories and bringing him face-to-face with an old enemy from his past . . .
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Being a bit of a sucker for a strong sense of place, and culture I was intrigued by the Makana series, and lucky enough to get the second book - DOGSTAR RISING for review. But this seemed to me to be a series that should begin at the very beginning, so I shouted myself the first book, THE GOLDEN SCALES.
In terms of sense of place, and the society in which the book is set, it was extremely well done. The ancient city of Cairo is not just the backdrop for the story, it inhabits the action. There's a physical feeling of the souks, and alleys, the dark corners in which the unknown lurks. Part fascinating and compelling, part frightening and threatening, THE GOLDEN SCALES paints Cairo as a place in which people could disappear. Some willingly, some not. It also paints Cairo as a place that provides some refuge for Makana, a former Sudanese policeman, who lives physically and emotionally on the outskirts of the society to which he fled when things in his homeland got very...
Seventeen years back, a little girl was stolen from her English mother in Cairo. In the present, a wildly popular football star goes missing. The rich man who owns the football team hires a poor man named Makana to find the football player.
Makana makes an interesting detective, once a police inspector in Sudan and now a political refugee in Egypt doing private investigations. When we meet him he's living on a ramshackle rented houseboat, really just a raft with walls. He's broke, and tormented by memories of imprisonment and loss in Sudan. The hunt for Adil the football hero is just the distraction he needs. And it promises to pay well.
Parker Balil paints an interesting picture of Cairo, with luxury development pushing out fishing villages and gangsters transforming themselves into rich and respected businessmen. Makana looks for clues in all levels of society. I particularly liked the mysterious old man running a junk shop by the bazaar, who talks Sufi...
This book started out ok because it was about a missing soccer player, but it got mixed in with a missing little girl and it was downhill from there. The books takes place in modern Cairo and it was extremely hard to read about people being tortured and killed. It was a very sad story and no one seemed better off at the end. I liked the author's style and his descriptions of Cairo were very real. I would like to read another one of his books, but if it is like the first one I won't bother. Too many bad things happening to good people!
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