cover image Fear of Beauty

Fear of Beauty

Susan Froetschel. Prometheus/Seventh Street, $15.95 trade paper (270p) ISBN 978-1-61614-702-0

Afghanistan’s harsh terrain provides the backdrop for Froetschel’s moving exploration of the mysterious death of a young boy, Ali, near the remote village of Laashekoh, in Helmand Province. Initially, most locals think that Ali’s death is accidental despite the concurrent arrival of American soldiers and civilians sent to provide agricultural aid. Though the newcomers are not initially suspects, a traveling band of radicals stirs up animosity and hatred, and complicates life for all, especially the dead boy’s parents, Sofi and Parsaa. Over at the American camp, Army Ranger Joey Peterson has his hands full dealing with ignorance, intolerance, and visiting ag specialist Mita Samuelson, a general’s daughter. After the Americans’ translator dies and Mita disappears in a mountainside shooting, Joey desperately tries to keep the peace amid rising village tensions. Froetschel (Royal Escape) has crafted an exceptionally well-written tale of love, loss, trust, and greed with appeal that reaches far beyond mystery fans. Agent: Alison Picard, Alison J. Picard Literary. (Jan.)