Quicksand by Carolyn Baugh

Nora Khalil, Book 1

Synopsis: Officer Nora Khalil is used to navigating different terrains. As part of a joint task force set up by the Philadelphia Police Department, the FBI, and the local sheriff’s offices, she works to keep Philly’s mean streets safe from gang violence, while trying to honor the expectations of her traditional Egyptian-American family. She can hold her own against hardened murderers and rapists, and her years as a competitive runner ensure that no suspect ever escapes on foot.

Nora tries to keep her professional and personal lives separate, but when a mutilated body is discovered in a tough section of town, Nora must rely on both her police training and her cultural background to find out whether this is another gang-related killing or the grisly evidence of something even darker and more disturbing.

Review: I expected a lot while starting this novel but it’s true that I definitely did not expect that. This is not an easy book to read, and the author wasn’t easy about all the difficulties she has inserted in her book but that’s also what is fascinating here.

We discover a heroine that we do not necessarily have the habit of seeing. Nora is an Egyptian-American who made her little way in the police and tries to be strong if front of the ones who don’t think she is capable and to help those in need. Her skills in Arabic and religion can sometimes help her when she’s on the ground, being part of a team dealing with street gangs. But she is also a rather complex heroine, a woman who happens to be strong in her work but not as much in her family. She loves her brother and father, but her father has some very different views from what she would want for her life. Indeed, he is determined to arrange a marriage for her to a man she does not know, a choice she doesn’t want. But until then, Nora did not actually manage to truly break away from her father. He did not want her to leave his home. She never left. He did not want her to go to the prom with a boy. She did not go. He really does not want her alongside other men and this is something to which she tries to bend even though it is also quite difficult. But now, a desire to emancipate herself becomes more and more present.

We also feel the entire Muslim culture that the author wanted to show through here. The fact that some women are subjected, that some men sometimes think they are above religion because they are men but women can not. To understand that for a few the inter-religion relations are not so easy, to attend the prejudices of the people. To see the courage of some to help others even though their lives may be in danger of seeing that mosques may also allow some to teach things like the language of the country, to be able to speak and read and finally to understand that this is a complex but equally interesting culture.

I didn’t do into the details of the story and it’s true that this is there a real point to note. The story in which the author takes us is not easy and the themes are also very hard. We thus find slavery, murder, rape, pedophile relationships, drugs …. Yes a lot of difficult things that are really well handled here. I found that the author had really managed to write an exciting story, showing us the complexity, the horror that we can have in all things. It is not expected the investigation taking this special twist, everything takes a gigantic scale and we can see the horror of what people can commit. No it was not a very cheerful reading, but it was very interesting and it is very difficult to stop before finishing it. In addition to all this, I was surprised by the couple of the story and I was impatient to understand the word end of the story. So yes, it is a book that I took pleasure to discover and I am curious to read more of the series now.

 

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21 thoughts on “Quicksand by Carolyn Baugh

  1. A novel I’ve seen featured on several blogs. Interested in how the author deals with the cultural aspect of the story, I’m nevertheless a bit apprehensive that there might be too many big issues being dealt with to make this a book I’ll enjoy.

  2. Wow, this book is timely and provoking. Not necessarily offesive, but because it took the Muslim faith as one of it’s themes, I’m sure it’s going to incite a lot of discussion.

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