From Publishers Weekly
British author Neate's comic mystery introduces an intriguing hero, Tommy Akhtar, a Ugandan-Indian London PI, whose résumé includes a stint with the mujahideen in Afghanistan. When a hooker hires Akhtar to find a missing friend and colleague, he gets caught up in a larger drama involving a murdered MP and the murky doings of terrorists and various intelligence agencies. After the energy and frantic momentum of the opening scenes, the pace slows as the plot becomes a little too convoluted for its own good. More seriously, with the recent bombings in the London Underground still fresh in the public mind, some may find Neate's efforts at humor and satire to be premature. While Neate may not be in Kinky Friedman's class as a humorist or prose stylist, this book should appeal to Kinkster fans. Neate's novel Twelve Bar Blues
won the 2001 Whitbread Novel Award. (Apr.)
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*Starred Review* Neate (Where You're At
, 2004), whose previous books have been diverse, sprawling, and sometimes award winning, turns to crime. Tommy Akhtar is a Ugandan Indian private eye with a fondness for Wild Turkey and Benson & Hedges and an absolute mania for cricket. Oh, and he was also a mujahideen in Afghanistan. When a brassy hooker hires him to find her missing flatmate, Akhtar soon learns his mission is about far more than bad debt between working girls: the MI5 and CIA are working the same case, too. Neate has overwhelmed some readers with his torrential narrative, but here, in the service of a tightly plotted mystery/thriller, the ebullience of his writing lifts readers like a storm surge that carries them off the beach and right back to their beds. Akhtar is one-of-a-kind, his voice a rollicking blend of erudite thought delivered in delightfully crude slang. Political digressions are blunt but well informed and rich with irony. And a plot thread involving a terrorist threat in London has startling relevance after the events of last July. Neate waggishly calls this "Another Tommy Akhtar Investigation" (it's the first we've seen); let's hope he makes good on that promise. Keir GraffCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved