cover image MOSAIC


Soheir Khashoggi, . . Forge, $24.95 (317pp) ISBN 978-0-7653-1235-8

Khashoggi (Mirage ) blends a family drama's thoughtfulness with a thriller's tension in this fast-paced novel about a half-Lebanese Manhattanite whose husband, in doing what he believes is right, turns her world upside down. Dina Ahmed thought she had the nearly ideal cross-cultural life: her husband, Karim, is a successful diplomat from a wealthy Jordanian family; her twins, Ali and Suzanne, are lively and well adjusted, well cared for by Karim's spinster aunt; and her chic floral boutique, Mosaic, is thriving. But Karim, plagued by the vague suspicion he's faced after 9/11 and convinced he must save the twins from the American influences he feels have already ruined his and Dina's gay teenage son, Jordy (from whom Karim is estranged), takes Ali and Suzanne to his family home in Amman and vows to raise them there. Dina learns that she has few legal options, and the high-priced detective she consults turns down a rescue job because of Karim's powerful family. Frustrated and frantic, Dina turns to a low-profile PI named John Constantine; after visiting Karim's home in Amman, the detective recommends that Dina journey to visit her children so he can organize a rescue operation during her stay. Khashoggi's taut storytelling keeps the suspense high throughout, and the plot twists are both surprising and realistic, as the author wisely avoids both thriller clichés and post-9/11 politics to engineer a series of believable, thought-provoking compromises. Agent, Liv Blumer. (Oct.)