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Saturday, 25 April 2015

Paul Sussman - The Labyrinth of Osiris

Book Review written by Ro Bennett & read live on bookshow 23rd April 2015.

A journalist is murdered in Jerusalem’s Armenian Cathedral and Detective Arieh Ben-Roi is spoilt for leads. One however seems out of place - a link to a decades -old missing person’s case in Egypt. Baffled, he turns to Inspector Yusuf Khalifa of Luxor Police to help. 

Although struggling with personal tragedy and immersed in a case of his own - a series of mysterious well poisonings in the Eastern Desert - Khalifa agrees to do some digging. What he discovers will change both men’s lives forever.

As their investigations intertwine, the detectives are drawn ever deeper into a sinister web of violence, abuse, corporate malpractice and international terrorism. At the heart lies a three-thousand-year-old mystery that has already taken two lives and will soon be claiming more. 

This is not a book I would have chosen to read normally, but I was running our of titles I fancied listening to in the Library audio book list. I’m glad I picked it. It’s a long book and was really interesting to listen to as I did my chores. I enjoyed it so much that I bought the book second hand so that I could look up references and read sections. 

It’s an exciting thriller with several subplots, loads of suspense and unexpected twists and turns. There are also some surprises and nasty shocks. The book is certainly unputdownable and a page turner, though there were some action bits I felt were a bit drawn out.  

I loved the characters of Arieh and Khalifa . Of course their bosses were arrogant and inept and the villains were truly evil, vicious  and despicable. 
I still don’t know who murdered the female reporter at the start of the book. I’m going to have to go through it again to sort that out from the hints dropped  along the way. 

This is the fourth in a series, but is fine as a stand-alone read. I will certainly read the other three books in the series, which have been translated into over thirty languages and sold over two million copies. Sussman’s books have been described as the intelligent reader’s answer to the Da Vinci Code. Paul’s journalism has appeared in the Big Issue, Independent, Guardian, Evening Standard and CNN.  He also wrote a book called Death by Spaghetti which is culled from the News pages of the Big Issue and described as a compilation of rib tickling, bizarre and bonkers true stories. 

In his Biography, Paul Sussman wrote: 
For as long as I can remember, the two great loves of my life have been writing and archaeology (three if you include travelling in out of the way places, especially deserts). For many years I worked as a field archaeologist in Egypt, notably in Luxor and the Valley of the Kings, and all my novels to a greater or lesser extent draw on my experiences excavating and living in Egypt and the Middle East. My main protagonist, Inspector Yusuf Khalifa of the Luxor Police, is a composite of a number of people I know, and while his colourful adventures are products purely of my imagination, the world he inhabits is very much a real one. 
Through Khalifa I try to explore issues such as terrorism, contemporary Middle East politics, religion and government corruption, all against a backdrop of the extraordinary history and archaeological heritage of that part of the world.

Whilst working as an archaeologist, among other finds, he unearthed the only items of pharaonic jewellery to have been excavated in the Valley since the discovery of Tutankhamun in 1922.

Sadly Paul died suddenly in May 2012 after suffering a ruptured aneurysm having recently finished writing the Labyrinth of Osiris. He was just forty five. 

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