And we’re back from hiatus feeling refreshed and energized. I hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful summer!
Today I am thrilled to share a review of the third book in one of my personal favorite mystery series, which began with the 2009 Alex Award-winning Finding Nouf.
Author Zoe Ferraris followed Finding Nouf with City of Veils, which we reviewed here in 2010. Kingdom of Strangers only proves that this is one of those rare series in which each installment is even better than the last. Finding Nouf is one of my go-to recommendations, whether a student is looking for a mystery or simply interested in trying something “different.” It’s a great chance to expose readers to modern Saudi Arabian culture.
Ferraris is currently working on her first YA novel, The Memory Seas.
Adult/High School–In this novel of secrets, Ferraris’s skillful pacing maintains an intense narrative as each character is forced to make life-changing decisions. The rules of decency in Saudi Arabia require extreme caution, and men and women risk public humiliation, torture, and even beheadings should they be found in violation of them. In the throes of a serial-killer investigation, Inspector Ibrahim Zahrani discovers that his lover, an underground activist for immigrant housemaids, has gone missing yet he cannot openly investigate as charges of adultery are a death sentence. He requires a surrogate and enlists Katya, a forensic lab technician, to gather evidence in exchange for including her in the case. Readers will remember Katya and her fiancé, Nayir, from previous books, and it’s when they become involved in the two investigations that the story becomes electric. Kingdom of Strangers is appealing to teens on several levels. There is the horrific discovery of the burial site of 19 murdered women, all with their hands missing, and the seemingly impossible task of bringing anyone to justice. There is the inside look at the investigative process and what it reveals about both the investigators and the suspects as pieces come together for a satisfying conclusion. Most of all teens, will be drawn to the unique constraints that are present in this setting, the depiction of life for women in this culture, and the agonizing choices facing each well-developed character.–Priscille Dando, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA