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In Kingdom of Strangers, Zoë Ferraris (City of Veils) takes mystery lovers back to modern Saudi Arabia, where religion is law and forbidden passion carries a death sentence.
When 19 female corpses, their hands cut off, are discovered in the desert outside Jeddah, Inspector Ibrahim Zahrani must spearhead the hunt for a serial killer while his own life falls apart. Irritated with his wife's religious fanaticism and concerned about his son's failing marriage, Ibrahim also shoulders his daughter-in-law's terrible secret. Then Sabria, his Filipino mistress, vanishes without a trace, but Ibrahim is unable to make inquiries without confessing their affair. Desperately worried, he takes Katya Hijazi from the women-only police lab into his confidence, and she agrees to make inquiries for him.
Meanwhile, Katya is struggling to decide whether she can take her relationship with her Bedouin paramour, Nayir, to the next level without sacrificing any chance at furthering her career, already a difficult proposition for a woman in Saudi society. Beyond the scope of their personal worries, Katya and Ibrahim both work frantically to find the identity of the so-called Angel Killer before his next victim dies.
Ferraris lifts the veil from a culture where apparent virtue masks violence. Katya's struggle for professional advancement in the face of societal prejudice against women is eye opening, the lack of female empowerment in Saudi culture clearly exemplified. As the investigation reaches its surprising conclusion, Ibrahim and Katya's choices change their lives forever. This sensitive and enlightening mystery is sure both to move and to chill its readers.
***This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness Readers Edition. Sign up for this free and awesome newsletter at http://www.shelf-awareness.com for the latest news and reviews! This review refers to an ARC provided by Shelf Awareness.***