Thursday, September 22, 2022

#28: Layover in Dubai by Dan Fesperman

A buttoned-down numbers cruncher for an American company and a rumpled, eccentric Dubai cop must team up when they inadvertently reveal corruption coming from both quarters in Dan Fesperman's Layover in Dubai.

Fesperman, a former journalist, writes a sober, well-paced international thriller in an unusual setting; a Dubai steeped in tradition while trying to race into the future.  It's a potent stew where a sex-trafficking ring, as exposed by our ill-matched protagonists, could thrive.

They end up being helped by several other interesting characters, including the Dubai cop's Bedouin friend from childhood as well as the cop's daughter, caught in a cultural web she is secretly trying to break free from.

This is my first exposure to Fesperman's writing; apparently he has written thrillers in a number of unique settings, to steady acclaim.  I would definitely look for another of his novels.

I listened to this one on audiobook on loan from the New Castle-Henry County Public Library in in New Castle, Indiana.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

#27: The Paper Wasp by Lauren Acampora

Two childhood friends--one who is now a rising Hollywood star, the other who stayed in her hometown and draws illustrations based on her dreams--are brought back together at a class reunion, with troubling results, in Lauren Acampora's The Paper Wasp.

At first glance the storyline might seem familiar, but Acampora is able to chrome out the characters and situations with plenty of surprises, including both women's involvement with an enigmatic film director, which adds value.  

A protagonist who is an unreliable narrator, but also may or may not have psychic powers, adds a level of interest.

Acampora is a smart, literate writer even as she works through a number of thriller genre beats.  Recommended.

I checked this one out from the Morrisson-Reeves Public Library in Richmond, Indiana and read it quickly.