Dubai the Jungle
by Abdullah AlQatami

"Saeed cried with them without knowing it. Tears spilled from his eyes. How could things get this much out of hand?"

The largest city in the United Arab Emirates is the locale for this intriguing thriller. Something strange is going on at the Dubai Zoo. The animals, normally alert and attentive, are becoming oddly listless. They pay little or no attention to the people ogling them or the keepers feeding them. Then the worse happens. Somehow all the cages are opened, and the animals go mad with hunger. They begin attacking workers, visitors, even each other. Escaping into the public areas surrounding the zoo, they run amuck until police arrive and attempt to subdue them. Blood runs in the streets. Chaos reigns. How did this terrible event happen? What caused it? And is there more mayhem to come?

AlQatami follows his compelling opening by detailing the hunt for answers conducted mostly by General Omar of the Dubai Police Division, a dedicated official and family man, and Deductive Sultan, an ex-cop who’s become a private consultant. Unbeknownst to them initially, they’re pitted against Yasir, a member of a criminal organization intent on impressing his bosses and moving up in the ranks. The good guys and the bad guys narrative lines cleverly intertwine as the novel progresses.

The author is an engaging storyteller. He pulls readers in with a highly dramatic opening then fills in explanatory information as his plot develops. Bits of odd phraseology indicate English may not be his first language, but that doesn’t stop him from developing suspenseful situations and well-developed characterizations. While his two storylines merge, and answers about who, how, and why are eventually provided, the author leaves the door ajar as to whether his tale has actually ended or whether there may, in fact, be more to come.

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