Saturday, February 22, 2014
Elliott Colla's "Baghdad Central"
I read my friend Elliott Colla's police procedural set in post-Saddam Baghdad in manuscript. I thought it was great. He hunted for publishers, and Bitter Lemon Press decided it was a fine read too.
It has only just been published, but has already received two smoking reviews, one from The Independent, the other, from The Daily Star.
Here's an introduction to what it's all about, which I've sort of cribbed from the review in The Independent. The protagonist, Inspector Muhsin al-Khafaji, is a deserter from the Iraqi police who the US forces wrongly identify as a high-ranking official under Saddam. He is tortured at Abu Ghrayb and then cuts a deal with the American occupiers to train new recruits. In return, al-Khafaji will get medical relief for his daughter, suffering from kidney failure, and unable to obtain proper treatment due to UN sanctions imposed on Saddam's Iraq.
The novel even has a youtube trailer, if you will:
And Colla has a personal webpage.
You must read this now. If you like policiers. If you are interested in Iraq. If you like books.
And please buy it from your local bookstore. Not Amazon.