Books Review by Brenda Repland
Adnan Khalil
Publish Date: 14 Oct 2017

Alhawadeth Media



A Taipei Night Market Novel




Ed Lin




   Review by Brenda Repland


In this follow-up to Ghost Month, we return to the culture of Taipei, Taiwan.  It is Mid-Autumn Festival, a time to focus on family.  Favors requested at this time are hard to turn down.


Jing-nan has inherited his family’s food stand at the Taipei Night Market which he runs successfully with two employees.  But when his gangster uncle, “Big Eye,” asks him to bring his 16-year-old daughter, Mei-ling to Taipei (from her home in Taichung) he cannot refuse.  This will be no easy task as Big Eye’s real motivation is to separate her from what he considers an undesirable boyfriend. 


Complicating matters is a secret Mei-ling harbors which could greatly disrupt the family.


The author wraps a mystery around the sights and sensualities of a land he knows so well.

We learn about the cuisine, the plethora of deities worshipped by the locals, and myriad customs that may seem strange to an outsider.




The Blackhouse




Peter May



  Review by Brenda Repland


This is the first of the Lewis Trilogy – a riveting mystery series set on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides.


When a ghoulish murder occurs on the Isle of Lewis that is very similar to one committed in Edinburgh on the mainland, detective Fin Macleod is sent to investigate.  Fin is a native of Lewis though he has lived for many years on the mainland.  What he doesn’t realize at the outset is that he will be on a personal journey as well – into his own troubled past. 


Peter May paints a strong atmospheric picture of this remote island in the Atlantic where the weather will always play a strong role with unending winds and storms.  This melancholic feeling seeps into the inhabitants as well. 


The closer he comes to solving the case(s), the closer he faces the trials of his past.  The connection with the people and places of his tormented past leads him to a confrontation that he has tried hard to forget.


Mr. May holds our attention as the tension keeps building.  You won’t be able to guess at the ending of this one.








The Rat Catchers’ Olympics


A Dr. Siri Paiboun Mystery




Colin Cotterill




   Review by Brenda Repland


The 1980 Olympic games in Moscow were boycotted by the US and other nations.  This made the way for “virgin countries” (those which had never taken part in Olympics before) to participate.  When Dr. Siri learns that his best friend, Civilai, will be accompanying the Laos team, he finagles a way to be named team doctor so he and his wife Daeng can join the group.


When one of the shooters competing, an old friend of Civilai’s, is surreptitiously replaced on the plane to Moscow and installed as his replacement, it sets Siri and company on an investigation.  They liaise with Inspector Phosy back in Laos regarding a possible conspiracy. In short order, Phosy’s potential informer is killed and a Lao Olympian is accused of murder in the Olympic Village.


The author lets us view Moscow and the Olympics from the perspective of the village athletes who have never seen or experienced anything like it – scientifically designed sports gear; elevators; designer lodgings.


Dr. Siri and his pals will have to solve not one but two murders and prevent an international incident.  This will not be easy, given both the Soviet and (Communist) Lao governments’ predilection for subterfuge. 


The delightful characters in this series never fail to entertain.  Don’t miss it!



The One Man




Andrew Gross



   Review by Brenda Repland


In the spring of 1944, the Germans and the Allies are racing (against each other) to develop the first atomic bomb.  The US Manhattan Project is stuck on one aspect of the development.  However, there is one man – an expert in electromagnetics -- who can solve the puzzle but he has just been incarcerated in Auschwitz.  The Nazis have no idea just how valuable the physicist Alfred Mendel is.   Not only has he lost his entire family, but his incarcerators have burned his crucial formula notes. 


“Wild Bill” Donovan, head of the OSS, sets on a plan to rescue Mendel and bring him to the US where his contribution to the Project could shorten the war significantly. 


Nathan Blum, a Polish Jew who escaped the Krakow ghetto, is translating dispatches in a basement office in Washington when the call comes.  He is chosen as the “perfect rescuer.”  Who in their right mind would agree to be integrated into a death camp in the hope of locating one man (among the 100,000 + prisoners) and extricating him?  He wants to do something for his adopted country and agrees to the near-suicidal mission.


This story will have your heart pounding from beginning to end.  It also provides food for thought on man’s will to succeed and survive. 



The Templars Last Secret


A Bruno, Chief of Police Novel




Martin Walker




 Review by Brenda Repland


The latest in this series, set in the Dordogne region of France, finds St. Denis Police Chief Benoît “Bruno” Courrèges investigating the death of an unidentified woman who fell from the ramparts of an ancient fortress.  While her death initially seems accidental, before long it becomes obvious that this is a case of murder. 


Bruno learns that the dead woman was an archeologist searching for a religious artifact, near the site of the Lascaux caves.  This artifact – the “Testament of Iftikhar” has lately received  a lot of attention from both scholars and (Templar) treasure hunters.  But does it really exist?

If it does, it could have astounding repercussions throughout the Middle East.


The victim’s ties to Islamic terrorists garner the attention of Bruno’s higher-ups in Paris as the various anti-terrorist units descend on St. Denis demanding information and gearing up to prevent an attack.  It seems terrorism has a long reach, right down to the tiny French villages. 




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