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Nadel, Barbara - 'River of the Dead'
Paperback: 384 pages (June 2009) Publisher: Headline ISBN: 075533566X

When a convicted killer and drug baron escapes from a high security prison in Istanbul, he leaves behind many dead bodies and a lot of blood. Inspector Cetin Ikman looks deep into the background of the escapee, from his Istanbul base, where it becomes obvious that the man concerned, Yusuf Kaya, has vanished back to the dangerous south-east of Turkey. Cetin's former assistant, Inspector Mehmet Suleyman, flies off to that area to check it out.

Meanwhile, back in Istanbul, Inspector Ikman is having troubles in his domestic life, in that a problematic son who disappeared from home when he was fifteen has suddenly returned. When he left he was a confirmed junkie, stealing from his brothers and parents to finance his habit and yet he now pleads that he is no longer taking heroin and is clean. His mother, who always blamed Ikman for driving him out at fifteen is ecstatic that he has returned. Ikman, however, is troubled and disbelieving that a miracle could have happened.

Suleyman, meanwhile, is met in Mardin by a tough woman detective and after some detailed investigations a dead body is discovered in the Euphrates River, which explains the book's title. The body is curiously dressed in an American soldier's uniform but the face has been slashed off. As Iraq is quite close, investigations are mounted there to identify the corpse. DNA finally identifies the body but who could have carried out this act and why? This page turner of a book proceeds to an exciting conclusion.

I have read a few of the earlier books about this unusual Turkish detective and picking up and reading the eleventh title by Barbara Nadel was like putting on a comfortable pair of gloves; she writes with such fluidity and grace about a country she has a lot of intimacy with. The only thing I found a little difficult with, was re-familiarising myself with the unusual names people have, although there is a glossary and a map to help. It was a real delight to read this series again and I must have a look at the ones I missed.

Terry Halligan, England
July 2009

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 29/05/2010 14:31