Kingdom of Strangers
When a secret grave is unearthed in the Saudi desert containing the bodies of nineteen women, all with their hands cut off at the wrist, a shocking truth is revealed: a serial killer has been operating in Jeddah for more than a decade.
Even as he lands the biggest case of his career, lead inspector Ibrahim Zahrani is distracted by a mystery closer to home. His mistress, Sabria, has suddenly disappeared, yet as a respected law officer, husband, and father of five, he cannot report her missing without fear of reprisals. In Saudi Arabia, adultery is punishable by death. With nowhere else to turn, Ibrahim brings the case to forensic tech Katya Hijazi, who secretly hopes to be promoted to police detective.
Then a gruesome memento is left in an alley, signaling that there is a new victim. Is the same predator still at work, or was one killer trained by another? As Katya pursues both investigations, she is drawn into a dark underworld that exploits the most vulnerable members of Saudi society and at the same time threatens to reveal her own carefully guarded secret.
Portraying the lives of women in one of the most closed cultures in the world, acclaimed author Zoë Ferraris weaves a tale of psychological suspense around an elusive killer and the sinister forces trafficking in human lives in the Middle East.
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"Ferraris...expertly mines her locale for tantalizing details."
—New York Daily News
"Suspense and social commentary combine brilliantly as Katya's dilemmas provide insights into daily life in the kingdom, and the state of denial that exists about violence against women."
—Joan Smith, The Sunday Times (UK)
"There's something here for everyone: a thrilling mystery; exposure to a country typically shrouded under a veil from the Western gaze; not one but two conflicted love stories. But it's the characters who drive this remarkable book, products of their foreign culture, but deeply familiar in their humanity. Here's hoping for another sequel."
—Malena Watrous, San Francisco Chronicle
"A fascinating mystery that provides insight into the lives of women in Saudi Arabia and exposes the plight of migrant workers there... The combination of an exotic locale with a closed culture and first-rate psychological suspense makes this a compelling page-turner."
"Ferraris has an unerring sense of place....Replete with bad cops, false leads, twists and sudden turns, this is superlative crime fiction mixed with unforced cultural analysis that bursts right out of genre constrictions."
—Robin Yassin-Kassab, The Guardian (UK)
"This sensitive and enlightening mystery is sure both to move and to chill its readers."
Oprah's Editors Pick
Washington Post (Book World)
The UK Guardian
School Library Journal
New York Daily News
Publishers Weekly starred review
Publishers Weekly Best of Summer 2012
Shelf Awareness starred review
San Francisco Chronicle
The Review Broads
The Independent Best of Summer 2012
Crimesquad Review, UK
Violin in a Void
The Sydney Morning Herald
Mystery One Books
This Ain't Hell
The Christian Manifesto
Shelf Discovery—Public Radio Exchange
Reviewing the Evidence
Marianne Delacourt's Tara Sharp
One of the Independent's Best Summer Reads for 2012
One of Publisher's Weekly's Best Books of Summer 2012
An interview in the Dubai National with Zoë Ferraris, Crime and Conundrum
Little, Brown and Company hardcover, June 2012, ISBN-13: 9780316074247