Devil’s Tumble
by Eben Beukes
Golden Ink Media Services

"That wearily familiar walk down that darkened street on the way to yet another scenario of man’s unquenchable appetite for the depraved and the desperate?"

Oxford-educated Lieutenant Riad al Ajmi works in the homicide department in Kuwait. While the Iraq War rages across the border, Riad is trying to figure out who is killing residents of Kuwait City. His investigation leads him to cross paths with two U.S. MPs tracking a serial killer wearing an officer's uniform and recently active in Seoul. In addition, Riad is trying to raise his daughter as best he can after his wife's death and also deal with the unexpected arrival of his gun-smuggling uncle. Riad's case draws him into the inner circle of one of Kuwait City's wealthiest and most influential families while connecting to the past horrors of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. This dangerous assignment has Riad reflecting on truths about law and justice while trying to avoid corruption and catch a killer before the murderer makes him a victim.

Beukes' novel is a well-written crime drama filled with intrigue and interesting characters. Reminiscent in tone and mood of the writings of Graham Greene but with a splash of Dashiell Hammett, the protagonist easily draws the reader's empathy. At the same time, the setting works very well to help an unfamiliar reader understand the different influences mingled in Kuwait. Despite a few small grammatical errors and a slightly less than satisfying secondary antagonist, the narrative keeps the reader interested and satisfied. The insights into the main character through his musical and literary tastes are handled professionally, and the world is detailed through this lens in a beautifully muted manner. All in all, the writing is subtle in a way that readers will appreciate, and the plot is intricate enough to enthrall crime readers. Beukes' book is one most readers will find easy to recommend to their friends.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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