Kat Dawson, Politics & Prose, Washington, D.C.

I was immediately sucked into Mehmet Murat Somer's The Kiss Murder [Penguin, Dec. 30] from the opening paragraph, upon meeting the dryly sarcastic Turkish transvestite protagonist. Somer transports us into the fast-paced life of a male computer technician by day and a drag nightclub manager by night—as she tries to figure out who is behind the murder of one of the girls at the club. Somer has crafted a character with such a sharp sense of humor and keen-eye glibness, I didn't know whether to hold my breath at cliffhanging moments or burst out laughing at her commentary. Parts of the story are fantastically reminiscent of 1950s era pulp novels about drag queens and gay nightlife, but what I truly appreciated was Somer's ability to craft a strong piece with all of the tensions of a strong murder mystery without the blood and gore. The Istanbul setting provides a fantastic playground for this humorous page-turner to unfold within.