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Layover in Dubai Hardcover – Deckle Edge, July 13, 2010

3.9 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1 edition (July 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307268381
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307268389
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,056,651 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on July 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Road weary American auditor Sam Keller is in his twentieth nation as an employee of Pfluger Klaxon. He and his business companion Charlie Hatcher are in Dubai when the latter is murdered. Although Sam vomits twice at the sight of the blown away Charlie, the cops believe he is the killer so he flees rather than take his chances on Middle East justice even if Dubai is a very westernized center.

He soon finds the Russian Mafia and his own pharmaceutical company want him dead. Dubai police officer Anwar Sharaf believes the American is innocent as the alleged motive fails to hold up under minor scrutiny. However, his investigation leads to him on run from his corrupt peers, the Russians and the hired guns of Sam's firm.

This is an exciting over the top of the Burj Khalifa as the audience gets a close up look at perhaps the most capitalist center in the world conflicted between money and religious beliefs. Fast-paced, Sharaf makes the tale work as he rejects the mainstream bias news, jealous peers and deadly others who threaten his loved ones to insure the right people are arrested. Sam pales in comparison to him during his Layover in Dubai.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Layover in Dubai" was certainly the best book of the summer. It kept me guessing until the last few pages. As a past resident of the Arabian Gulf, I can attest to the fact that the author had his cultural facts straight and it was clear he has been to the Gulf or had an editor who knows the region personally. I give this book a top rating and recommend it to all mystery/murder fans.
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Format: Paperback
I enjoyed 'Layover in Dubai.'

The book is, first, generally well-written, with a solid, functional narrative. Likewise, the story is interesting and engaging, with believable characters and a satisfying end. What I found most enjoyable, however, was the book's depiction of Dubai and its famous boom-town intricacies, which I thought to be honest, well-rounded, and thought-provoking. From cultural contrasts and clashing worldviews, to the underbelly of questionable labor that propels the explosive growth of Dubai and other industrial giants, there is much written between the lines of this novel, and much to learn. In this way, I found the book to present a compelling human study, of a relevant, objective nature that one might not expect from fiction. This, combined with the book's value as pure entertainment, made for a surprisingly substantial read.

My thanks goes out to this book's author and publisher. I am grateful for, and have benefited from, your work and service.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The author lived several weeks in Dubai researching this book. Gives you a feeling for Dubai and to some extent the importance of personal relationships in doing business in the UAE. Mostly, this book is a lot of fun! Informative and entertaining!
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Format: Hardcover
This is a throwaway novel, nothing more, but kind of an enjoyable one if you have ever been to Dubai. Fesperman has written a page-turner about a young American auditor for a large petrochemical company whose trip to Hong Kong via Dubai becomes both complicated and dangerous when a co-worker is savagely murdered in a seedy nightclub. From there we follow a story involving the Dubai police (some corrupt, some honest), the traffic in prostitutes, Russian and Iranian mobsters, the huge global force of unskilled laborers, crooked corporate executives, and Emirati family dynamics. It's an interesting enough combination to keep the plot moving, and the book does not require much mental exertion, making it a nice vacation read. On a lot of aspects of Dubai and its development Fesperman is pitch-perfect, with descriptions that seem to carry the legitimacy of insider knowledge. Unfortunately, he is tone deaf on others. For example, the household arrangements in the home of Sharaf, the always-underestimated honest cop, are completely unbelievable. There is no sign of household help, which is ubiquitous with Emirati families of any means. Sharaf's wife goes shopping for groceries? And cooks dinner? I don't think so. And who uses an address to find any location in Dubai? Most locations don't even have a useable address, which is one reason there is no home mail delivery. And finally, with the exception of Iranians no one in the UAE refers to the body of water that borders the country as the Persian Gulf. Why would they? To Emiratis and those wishing not to offend them, it's the Arabian Gulf. OK, that last one is a tiny quibble, and maybe even the various references to "finding addresses" are simply accommodations for an American audience.Read more ›
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Format: MP3 CD Verified Purchase
Dan Fesperman's knowledge of the Middle East combined with his ability to weave a clever plot intersecting corporate greed in the US with local corruption (Dubai) , pitted against the efforts of two honest and fallible men makes a page turning read.
J. MacKenzie
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Format: Hardcover
Thriller writer Fesperman has a gift for conveying a sense of place, from the smells and sights and sounds to a real understanding of the way another culture's rules work and the conflicts that erupt between tradition and modernity.

He has set his exceptional books in hot spots all over the world, most notably war-torn Sarajevo (Lie in the Dark, The Small Boat of Great Sorrows), Gitmo (The Prisoner of Guantanamo), the Middle-East (The Amateur Spy), and Afghanistan (The Warlord's Son).

His latest is set in Dubai, capitalism's capital of the world, which doesn't have quite the same epic sense of history. What it does have is a glittering surface over a soft underbelly of corruption into which Fesperman adroitly burrows.

His American protagonist is Sam Keller, an auditor for Pfluger Klaxon, a giant pharmaceutical company. Once something of a daredevil, Keller has trained himself to toe the line. The attractive and intimidating head of corporate security has sent him to Dubai to let loose a little - and keep an eye on a colleague with a reputation for women and booze.

Keller isn't particularly comfortable with the assignment but he's a lot less comfortable when his co-worker ends up murdered in one of Dubai's cheaper brothels.

Keller then has to navigate the police - first a mix of Egyptian, Sudanese and Jordanian underlings, then the smooth-talking Lt. Assad and, finally, the rumpled Anwar Sharaf, a Dubai native who finds himself overwhelmed by the pace of modernization and in constant conflict with his headstrong and beloved daughter Amina.

Keller and Sharaf form an uneasy alliance as the murder becomes more complicated, and witnesses begin turning up dead.
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