Khadra, Yasmina. Double Blank. Toby. April 2005. 144p. tr. from French by Aubrey Botsford. ISBN 1-59264-119-9. pap. $12.95. Mystery.

Superintendent Brahim Llob of the Algerian police force sets out to solve the murder of Ben Ouda, a retired diplomat who had earlier asked Llob, himself an author, for help in writing a book about the Islamic fundamentalist violence plaguing the nation. As bodies pile up, Llob’s investigation leads him not only into the more squalid zones of Algiers but also into the homes and retreats of the wealthy. With the help of Ewegh Seddig, a Terminator-sized officer formerly of the National Police Academy, and Lino, a pony-tailed lieutenant quick with a quip, the superintendent tracks down the assassins involved in Ouda’s execution and then the men behind a plot that threatens the democratic survival of Algeria itself. Filled with startling metaphors and a poetic yet stark evocation of a violent world, Khadra’s crime story is a fitting sequel to Morituri, the first Inspector Llob mystery. Khadra is the pen name of an ex-Algerian army officer who also wrote the highly praised The Swallows of Kabul. Recommended for libraries where police procedurals are popular.

LJ, 130, no. 4 (March 1, 2005), 72.

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