Sunday, January 17, 2021

The Golden Scales (A Makana Mystery, #1) by Parker Bilal

The Golden Scales (Makana, #1)The Golden Scales by Parker Bilal
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The year is 1998, and former police inspector Makana, a refugee from his native Sudan, lives on a rickety houseboat on the Nile outside Cairo. He fled his country years earlier when it became too dangerous for him and his family under the radical Islamic regime that had recently overthrown the previous government. He ekes out a bare subsistence working as a private investigator while mourning the loss of his wife and daughter, who didn't survive their escape. His fortunes have the opportunity to change for the better when he is hired to find a missing soccer star.

Adil Romario has been missing for over two weeks without a word or sighting of one of Cairo’s favorite sones. It is as if the young man has disappeared off the face of the Earth. The Dreem Team's owner, Saad Hanafi, is desperate to find Adil for his club's success and personal reasons. Hanafi wasn't always on the right side of the law, and old enemies may be behind the young man's disappearance.

As Makana delves into the mystery, he discovers there may be a link between Adil's disappearance and that of the young daughter of an Englishwoman who went missing 17 years earlier. When the Englishwoman is found dead, Makana, with some support from a friend on the local police force, two agents from Britain's Special Branch out of London, and a young, local reporter trying to make a name for himself, digs deeper and further afield, coming to the realization that Hanafi isn't telling him everything he needs to know to find the missing soccer star.

THE GOLDEN SCALES is a complex and intriguing historical mystery set in moody, atmospheric Cairo. The descriptions of place drew me into the story, where the writing and plot gripped me and never let go. The characters who populate the pages are colorful and well-drawn. I could easily visualize their dress, manner of speech, and gestures. I was invested in Makana's success as if it were my own. The story is action-filled, and Makana investigates like a pro, so I was quite satisfied when the resolution came.

THE GOLDEN SCALES is the first book in the Makana Mystery series by Parker Bilal, a pseudonym of renowned author Jamal Mahjoub, and was originally published in 2012. Currently, there are six novels in the series, the last of which was published in 2017. I recommend this book to mystery readers that would like an intriguing, well-crafted story with historical and political subplots enveloped in a setting that comes alive on the page.

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Kate @ Bitch Bookshelf said...

Excellent review! I love a good mystery!

Whispering Stories said...

This looks really good. I don't think I have read a mystery/police procedural novel set in Egypt. Great review.

Unknown said...

Lovely review! This one looks intriguing and exciting. I don't think I've ever read a book set in Egypt.

Nadene @Ttly Addicted 2 Reading said...

I love that it's set in Egypt. Sounds interesting.

Lady In Read said...

This is certainly one I think I would love - the plot and the setting