From Publishers Weekly
Set in Dubai, Fesperman's listless, dialogue-heavy thriller concerns an American businessman, Sam Keller, who gets tangled up in competing criminal interests following the murder of a colleague. An auditor for a giant pharmaceutical company, Sam spends most of his time on the run, trying to avoid capture by either corrupt cops, Russian mobsters, or officials from his own company who have their own reasons for wanting him to fall off the radar. Sam is aided by possibly the one honest cop in Dubai, Anwar Sharaf, who quickly finds himself fleeing Sam's enemies, too. Fesperman (The Arms Maker of Berlin) does an admirable job of describing life in Dubai, a capitalistic freefor-all deeply troubled by the conflict between Western culture and religious tradition, but the plot falters early and quickly peters out. Anwar's cultural ambivalence and passion for justice provide spark, but Sam's wide-eyed, plain vanilla sensibility snuffs it out.
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Sam Keller, an auditor for pharmaceutical giant Pfluger Klaxon, is in Dubai, traveling with a colleague who has a reputation for indulging himself on the road. Indeed, “St. Sam” has been charged by Nanette Weaver, VP for corporate security, with shadowing his partner and reporting back to her. So, when the partner is murdered in a Dubai brothel, Sam knows he has a problem, but he doesn't have any idea how big. He's soon targeted by crooked cops, Russian mobsters, a bent diplomat, and some corporate sharks; his best hope is Anwar Sharaf, a frumpy Dubai police lieutenant who is distracted by his emirate's headlong leap into slapdash modernity and by his strong-willed, liberated daughter, Laleh. Sam, Anwar, and Laleh are pleasingly conflicted characters ill-prepared for derring-do, but Fesperman makes Dubai his book's finest character. Fabulous wealth and opulence grind like tectonic plates against traditional Muslim culture, foreign workers outnumber “emiratis” by nine to one, and rival clans still plot against each other. Layover in Dubai has plenty of action, but it's Fesperman's portrait of a truly bizarre place that will captivate readers. --Thomas Gaughan
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