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Autumn of the Phantoms Paperback – March 1, 2006

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
Book 3 of 4 in the Inspector Llob Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Khadra's third Inspector Llob mystery (after 2005's Double Blank) searingly portrays present-day Algeria's brutal realities. Llob faces expulsion and death threats after writing—under the pen name Yasmina Khadra—a series of books detailing Algeria's civil war and corruption from the inside out. This narrative doubling, which might seem overly postmodern in another story, deepens the menace hanging over Llob. Following the funeral of one of Llob's oldest friends, killed by the radical Islamists who are waging war on the Algerian government, Llob lives through bombings, terrorist attacks and waves of threats from superiors who could have him killed without the slightest repercussion. Like an existential novel, Llob's book aims to speak hard truths in simple language, and there's more than a touch of Camus in its bleak view of a society in which power and cruelty are synonymous. Khadra is the pseudonym of Mohammed Moulessehoul, an Algerian now exiled in France and best known as the author of The Swallows of Kabul (2004). (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Unlike Morituri (2003) and Double Blank (2004), the third book featuring Algiers police superintendent Brahim Llob isn't a detective story. It's a story about a detective who has reached the end of the line emotionally as well as, it seems from the second chapter, professionally. Llob is back in his hometown for the burial of an old friend murdered as a warning--"Hi, we're back!"--by Islamic fundamentalist freebooters, and to console the victim's broken brother, one of Algeria's greatest painters. He returns to work in Algiers only to find that he has been "retired" because of that book he wrote under a woman's name (Morituri). For the rest of this book, friends and not-exactly-friends commiserate with him, he encounters gloating superiors and at least one wealthy shitheel he once grilled, a goon tails him, and he survives a bomb blast. Llob's despair over what fundamentalism has made of Algeria keens throughout, and readers hoping for a continuing series are bluntly disabused in the end. Powerful, anguished, and anguishing stuff. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Toby Press; Tra edition (March 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592641431
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592641437
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,956,476 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Yasmina Khadra's books are pretty grim. Almost unremittingly so. They presumably speak to the terrible conditions in Algeria after (in the case of this book) Algeria's successful bid for independence from the French. I've been wrestling with the style, but have accepted that it's probably the fault of a too close translation from the French. If the books weren't so damn depressing, I'd think about picking up a couple in the original to compare.
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Format: Paperback
Yasmina Khadra is the pseudonymous author of a trio of Superintendant Llob mysteries (of which this is the third volume) and The Swallows of Kabul. In reality he's an exiled Algerian army officer who now lives in France. The first two Llob books were sort of an Algerian version of a cross between Raymond Chandler and Mickey Spillane. Both of the books are very strong on atmosphere and character, and rather weak on plot. This third book basically disposes with the plot completely, and the atmosphere is so leaden it's downright oppressive. Basically, Llob gets fired (for writing the first book in the series) and the rest of the story is him dealing with being out of work, and his depression.

I enjoyed all three of the books in some ways, but frankly this is the sort of thing that I'm sure plays better among Algerians than it does on this side of the pond. Without a plot, this third book isn't as good as the first too. I repeat my original observation: if they'd released the three books together, it would have made a volume of about 400 pages, at most, and would have a larger circulation.
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Format: Paperback
Yasmina Khadra (pseudonym of Algerian author Mohammed Moulessehoul) closes the circle on his Superintendent Brahim Llob series with this third book in the series, Autumn of the Phantoms. Superintendent Llob's tendency to speak his mind as bluntly with his superiors as with the criminals he chases has made him a marked man in present-day Algeria. Not only does he have to worry about Muslim terrorists wanting to assassinate him; he has to fear the same from those in power inside his own police department. Llob knows too much, talks too much about it, and is determined to go down swinging if he has to go down at all.

Now, it seems, his superiors have the perfect excuse to push Llob out the door: his novel, Morituri, in which the Superintendent exposed the corruptness of practically everyone with any power or influence in Algiers, including the police. First fired, and then allowed to retire (with one of the most surreal retirement tributes imaginable), Superintendent Llob now has to decide what to do with the rest of his life. Common sense dictates that he move to the countryside with his wife where, hopefully, he will no longer be a likely target for assassination. But first, Llob must attend the funeral of one of his oldest friends, a man tortured and killed by those who want to do the same to Llob. What happens after the funeral - to Llob and the local villagers, terrible as it is, is typical of what happened all over Algeria during the worst of the country's so-called civil war.
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Format: Paperback
Autumn Of The Phantoms by Yasmina Khadra is the enthralling tale of an Algerian policeman-turned-detective and writer who, as a result of his latest book, losses his well established job. Main character, Brahim Llob, after publishing his latest book, is confronted with his peers condemnation and consideration of his dishonor, causing his visit to his hometown which results in an attack from GIA commando. Autumn Of The Phantoms is a page-turning complex and educational novel, mixing truths of the harsh realities faced in Algeria and quasi-autobiographical for the exiled author. Highly recommended, Autumn Of The Phantoms is an excellent addition to all mystery buff reading lists.
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