Book Review: City of Veils by Zoë Ferraris

cityofveilsCity of Veils by Zoë Ferraris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The body of a young woman is discovered on the grimy sands of Jeddah beach; soon afterwards, a strong-minded American woman finds herself alone and afraid in the most repressive city on earth when her husband suddenly disappears.

Investigating police officer Osama Ibrahim, forensic scientist Katya Hijazi and her friend, the strictly devout Bedouin guide Nayir Sharqi join forces to search out the truth in the scorching city streets and the vast, lethal emptiness of the desert beyond.

Breathtakingly fast-paced, sure-footed and thrilling, this novel paints in dazzling colours a city of veils in which more is hidden than is revealed, and nothing is what it seems

Set in Jeddah, a more “progressive” city in Saudia Arabia, a woman is found washed up on a beach, brutally murdered.

A murder investigation follows, involving the disappearance of the American husband of a woman recently returned from a trip home to America (and who is finding living away from the American compound hard, especially navigating all the rules placed on women by a society she doesnt know or understand), a woman attached to the police department and her friend who is really in love with her.

Each person is trying (with various levels of success) to live in a world where both women and men are expected to live by certain behaviour, and how they struggle when it seems these rules are broken.

The book makes no excuse for Islam (and it shouldn’t) but shows instead how people try and live by the rules, circumvent them when they can or think it necessary, and that ultimately, many people are simply human.

Meanwhile there’s also the crime to investigate which boils down to theft and blackmail

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