A subtle and politically observant thriller. Makana is a highly original investigator who immediately engages our sympathies and whose future exploits I am keen to follow. Parker Bilal's character-driven storytelling is reminiscent of Simenon at his restrained best Conor Fitzgerald The Golden Scales shows modern Cairo as a superbly exciting, edgy and dangerous setting for crime fiction. Parker Bilal has delivered an absorbing, complex lively novel to match The Times Richly evocative ... It delivers much more than efficient intrigue ... We see and feel all the drama of Egypt on the brink of change Independent His prose has a subtlety that is rarely found in crime novels Economist Bilal deftly weaves past and present in this complex and compelling mystery set in 1998 Cairo ... Wonderfully detailed, the narrative reveals Cairo as a teaming, chaotic, and ungovernable. One looks forward to the sequel Publisher's Weekly Bilal's powers of description and his sensible, wryly compassionate leading man make this an enthralling read Guardian Parker Bilal ... paints a vivid picture of an effervescent Cairo, a city that could have been tailor-made as a crime-fiction backdrop. In Makana, Bilal has created a private detective who ticks all the usual boxes of doggedness, valour and ragged nobility, but it's his backstory, and the political ferment in neighbouring Sudan, that mark him out as a fascinating protagonist ... The tale itself follows the conventions of the genre, as Makana uncovers the links that tie Cairo's criminal element to the power-brokers at the apex of polite society, but the setting and characterisation are sufficient to make The Golden Scales an auspicious debut Irish Times A vivid, energetic work ... Set in 1998, the novel shows the extremes of wealth and poverty in Egypt before the Arab spring, while Makana's personal history offers heartbreaking insights into loss and exile Sunday Times Ex-Sudanese Police Inspector Makana is one of the most enigmatic and compelling characters to enter the pages of crime fiction in recent years ... the novel, which consists of two stories almost two decades apart which slowly intertwine as the narration proceeds, is dazzling in its dexterity and thematic depth West Australian An edgy account of a former policeman tackling corruption, greed, kidnapping and the disappearance of a four-year-old girl seventeen years ago The Times Books of the Year Sunday Express
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About the Author
Parker Bilal is the pseudonym for Jamal Mahjoub. Born in London and brought up in Khartoum, Sudan, Mahjoub originally trained as a geologist and has written six critically acclaimed literary novels which have been shortlisted and awarded a number of prizes. His works include: In the Hour of Signs, Travelling with Djinns, The Carrier, and The Drift Latitudes. He currently lives in Barcelona.