Dark Water

Parker Bilal. Bloomsbury, $27 (304p) ISBN 978-1-63286-652-3

Set in 2006, Bilal’s tense sixth mystery featuring the Sudanese refugee turned PI Makana (after 2016’s City of Jackals) demonstrates the author’s ability to immerse the reader in the richness, vibrancy, and dynamism of its various locales, starting with Cairo, where Makana is approached by Marcus Winslow, a British intelligence agent. Winslow persuades the private eye to agree to participate in a perilous mission to help an Iraqi scientist, Ayman Nizari, who may have committed atrocious war crimes, flee a dangerous situation in Istanbul. In return for sanctuary, Nizari has promised to give them not only the location of an almost mythical jihadist named Abu Hilal, but also evidence that Makana’s daughter—who he thought died along with his wife in a car accident nearly 17 years earlier—is alive. Although some sequences strain the boundaries of believability, the relentless pacing and meticulously descriptive prose make this a page-turner. [em]Agent: Euan Thorneycroft, A.M. Heath (U.K.). (July) [/em]