Saturday, August 10, 2013

Review: City of Veils by Zoe Ferraris

Title: City of Veils
Author: Zoe Ferraris
Year Published: 2010

Genre: Adult fiction, mystery
Pages: 376
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location (my 2013 Google Reading map): Saudi Arabia


FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money

Summary (from the back of the book): One scalding afternoon the mutilated body of a young woman, half-naked beneath her burqa, is discovered a strong-minded American struggling to make a life in one of the most repressive cities on earth, is left alone and afraid when her husband suddenly disappears.

In a city where the veils of conservative Islam keep women as anonymous in life as the victim is in death, everyone dreads investigating another unsolvable housemaid murder. But surprisingly, the dead woman is discovered to be a subversive filmmaker from a wealthy family. And Miriam's loving husband turns out to have been leading a double life in the city's darkest corners. 

Review: A couple years ago I read the first of Zoe Ferraris' novels, Finding Nouf, and I enjoyed it. City Veils, the sequel, has been sitting on my TBR shelf for at least 2 years so I am glad that I finally read it.

I was reminded about how much I like the two main characters, Nayir and Katya. Katya is a forensics specialist, working in the conservative country of Saudi Arabia. She manages to get herself involved in the details of police business, asking to come along when female witnesses need to be questioned. Nayir is quite religious and his feelings for Katya force him to push his personal boundaries as he helps her with her police work. The actually compliment one another and I like that they finally admit their feelings for each other at the end of this book.

The mystery in City of Veils is a good one that has quite a few angles to it. There is the murder of Leila, an outspoken journalist, the disappearance of Eric Walker, an American body guard, the mysterious Mabus, and the thefts from a local lingerie shop. They all end up connected (of course), but it is seamless and well done. I did not figure out who the perpetrator was until the very end, which I really like.

Another aspect of Ferraris' books that I like is learning about Saudi culture. I assume that the author did her research as she reveals laws, traditions, and cultural norms.

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