Mis­match of gen­res fails to fire

CHB Mail - - News - Mar­garet Reilly

The Re­luc­tant Mus­lim By Alexan­der Lo­gan, Wild Side Pub­lish­ing, $34.99

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A chance re­mark from a friend while play­ing squash sets Tom, a sur­geon in Bris­bane, think­ing of Kaye, his ex lover. On re­flec­tion Tom felt he had not re­ally treated Kate fairly and hop­ing to make amends Tom in­vites Kaye out for din­ner. The din­ner seemed to go well, but Tom felt Kaye was keep­ing some­thing from him. She was. As a jour­nal­ist Kaye had made contact with a women’s group in Afghanistan, the Afghanistan Women’s Rev­o­lu­tion­ary As­so­ci­a­tion led by Min­nah Muet­ton, a French ed­u­cated Afghan. She was plan­ning on join­ing them. Later when Tom heard Kaye had gone miss­ing in Afghanistan pre­sumed kid­napped, he felt he owed it to Kaye to go look for her. He joined a sur­gi­cal unit in an Afghani hos­pi­tal as a cover. What fol­lows is a story of mur­der, more kid­nap­ping which re­sults in the story mov­ing to Mar­seilles where both Tom, Kaye and their Mus­lim friends take on Ahmed Bakir, both a ter­ror­ist and a ma­jor arms dealer. They act as de­coys for the French po­lice with vary­ing suc­cess.

I think this novel could have ben­e­fited by some good edit­ing. I am not sure whether the au­thor re­ally knew which di­rec­tion to take. It seemed to be a bit of a mish­mash, a ro­mance, mys­tery story, ex­plo­ration of de­cay­ing Western val­ues, the sex­ual power played out all in the name of Is­lam and how eas­ily one can be se­duced by wealth and flat­tery. It was all a bit too much and seemed to me to lack cred­i­bil­ity. I have read bet­ter.

Rosie and Daniel have moved to Cey­lon with their lit­tle daugh­ter to start a new life at the dawn of the 1920s, at­tempt­ing to put the trauma of the First World War be­hind them, and to rekin­dle a mar­riage that gets colder every day. How­ever, even in the lush plan­ta­tion hills it is hard for them to es­cape the ties of home and the yearn­ing for ful­fil­ment that threat­ens their mar­riage.is a sweep­ing, heart­break­ing novel by Louis deBernieres. We have five copies to give away. Send in your name and de­tails to com­pe­ti­tions@nzme.co.nz, with So

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