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Week of Crime: Parker Bilal


Scandinavia isn’t the only place where crime – and crime-writing – happens. A country I haven’t paid a paper visit to before is Egypt but that is where Parker Bilal took me in Dogstar Rising.

The focal point of this book is Makana, formerly a policeman in his native Sudan but now scraping by as a gumshoe private detective in Cairo. The book is the second one in a series and, although released recently, well after Egypt’s part in the “Arab Spring”, is set back in the summer of 2001; the knowledge of what lies ahead for the nation in the coming decade, and indeed for the world from September that year, creates a background tension which I’m sure is intentional.

Makana starts by taking on a job to investigate a letter apparently threatening a small and rather disorganised company. It turns out to be much more than that and the subsequent investigation is woven in with other plot strands. I did find it a little hard to follow with so much going on, exacerbated by many names of people and places which were unfamiliar. However, I wonder if that is a deliberate ploy by the author to further add to the sense of chaos in the setting?

I would definitely read more of the series, if only to try and discover whether it is just a case of too many ideas or if the hints of larger plot arcs take fuller shape when seen from other perspectives.

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