Thursday, October 1, 2015

Review: Quicksand

Summary: The beginning of an engrossing new suspense series featuring Philadelphia policewoman Nora Khalil by Carolyn Baugh, acclaimed author of The View From Garden City. Officer Nora Khalil is used to navigating different terrains. As part of a joint task force set up by the Philadelphia Police Department, the FBI, and the local sheriff's offices, she works to keep Philly's mean streets safe from gang violence, while trying to honor the expectations of her traditional Egyptian-American family. She can hold her own against hardened murderers and rapists, and her years as a competitive runner ensure that no suspect ever escapes on foot.

Nora tries to keep her professional and personal lives separate, but when a mutilated body is discovered in a tough section of town, Nora must rely on both her police training and her cultural background to find out whether this is another gang-related killing or the grisly evidence of something even darker and more disturbing. -- Forge

I am always on the lookout for a new detective series especially one with a tough female protagonist, and that's exactly what I found with the novel QUICKSAND by Carolyn Baugh. This book has an intriguing main character in Nora Khalil as well as a suspenseful storyline. I'm happy to say that I am looking forward to more from this author and her characters.

QUICKSAND is the first book in a series featuring Philadelphia policewoman and  Nora Khalil. Nora is working on a joint task force with the FBI to clean up Philly's gang violence, but she's finding it's difficult to get respect from a male-dominated task force. In addition, she's having issues on the home front because her Egyptian father wants to find her a Muslim husband and won't allow her to date a fellow officer to whom she's attracted.

Both cops and citizens believe that the rival gangs are caught up in a turf war, committing murders as paybacks for other crimes. However, when  young Muslim woman is found with her eyes cut out, the investigation begins to take another course. Nora's knowledge of the Arabic language and culture proves useful as the investigation leads to a Muslim mosque where she works to find answers to these horrific crimes.

I really enjoyed QUICKSAND! I loved the character of Nora and think she'll be a great addition to other famous female detectives. She's tough but also vulnerable, and I thought the juxtaposition between her career as a police officer and her role in her family was fascinating. I felt as if the author did a wonderful job in showing the difficulties Nora faced as she was torn between her two worlds and the obligations and responsibilities that came with both.

In addition, I was appreciated learning a few things about the Muslim culture. I was very impressed with the author's knowledge of Islam, and it's evident that she knows her stuff -- she's a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in Arabic and Islamic studies. I found her portrayal of both Nora's family and the victim's life to be extremely interesting.

I also thought the author did a terrific job in bringing the city of Philadelphia to life. I loved her descriptions of the streets and landmarks in the Philly area, and I also enjoyed her details about the underbelly of the city. Since Nora was a runner, the author was able to incorporate a lot of details about the sights and sounds of Philadelphia into the story.

And finally, I thought the mystery (mysteries) in this novel were well constructed. I had a few ideas along the way but I was never quite certain which direction the story would take...  and that's a good thing when I feel as if I'm along for the ride. I appreciated Nora's intelligence and her ability to get to the bottom of the murders; and, like I mentioned earlier, I look forward to more of Nora in the future.

QUICKSAND is an intriguing mystery with a great female detective character. Highly recommended!

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.


bermudaonion said...

I love the Philly setting even though I don't know it that well. Nora sounds like a great character!

Beth F said...

I too like that the book is set in Philly. And here's a chance to start a series at the beginning.