City of Veils (Katya Hijazi and Nayir Sharqi Novel) (Paperback)
August 2010 Indie Next List
“This is a book that overwhelms you. While it can be regarded as a mystery, it is also a commentary on the various cultures in Saudi Arabia today, and how everyone there -- male and female, conservative or not -- is adjusting to the contemporary world with all of it's contradictions. Zoe Ferraris does an incredible job of showing the lives of her characters with honesty and compassion.”
— Martin Sorensen, Green Apple Books, San Francisco, CA
Finding Nouf's Katya Hijazi and Nayir Sharqi return for another thrilling, fast-paced mystery that provides a rare and intimate look into women's lives in the Middle East.
Women in Saudi Arabia are expected to lead quiet lives circumscribed by Islamic law and tradition. But Katya, one of the few women in the medical examiner's office, is determined to make her work mean something.
When the body of a brutally beaten woman is found on the beach in Jeddah, the city's detectives are ready to dismiss the case as another unsolvable murder-chillingly common in a city where the veils of conservative Islam keep women as anonymous in life as this victim is in death. If this is another housemaid killed by her employer, finding the culprit will be all but impossible.
Only Katya is convinced that the victim can be identified and her killer found. She calls upon her friend Nayir for help, and soon discovers that the dead girl was a young filmmaker named Leila, whose controversial documentaries earned her many enemies.
With only the woman's clandestine footage as a guide, Katya and Nayir must confront the dark side of Jeddah that Leila struggled to expose: an underworld of prostitution, violence, exploitation, and jealously guarded secrets. Along the way, they form an unlikely alliance with an American woman whose husband has disappeared. Their growing search takes them from the city's car-clogged streets to the deadly vastness of the desert beyond.
About the Author
Zoe Ferraris moved to Saudi Arabia in the aftermath of the first Gulf War to live with her then husband and his extended family of Saudi-Palestinian Bedouins. She has an MFA from Columbia University and is the author of one previous novel, Finding Nouf. She lives in San Francisco and Lexington, KY.
PRAISE FOR CITY OF VEILS:
"Zoë Ferraris delivers the Muslim The Da Vinci Code. It kept me up at night. I loved it!"
-co-author of The Faith Club
"A gripping, many times disturbing, story of murder and the search for justice in an ancient society at odds with a woman's fight for independence."
-author of The Heretic's Daughter
"An intense and thoughtful thriller."
-author of The Girl from Junchow
"Superb.... Ferraris is one of the most important new voices in crime fiction."
-author of So Cold the River
"Lifts the veil on Saudi Arabia.... Ferraris weaves an engrossing, taut tale."
-author of Murder in the Latin Quarter
"A fascinating, insightful, and remarkably balanced look inside a society unfamiliar to most readers."
-author of The Winter Thief
"Exhilarating. Ferraris masterfully captures the nuances of the Saudi culture and its women, while brilliantly exposing the conflict between tradition and desire."
-author of Rooftops of Tehran
"A marvelous book. Ferraris demonstrates the instinctive authority of both an elegant stylist and a born storyteller."
-author of Do They Know I'm Running?
"Taut and intelligent, set against a troubling backdrop of brutality, oppression and searing desert heat."
-author of The Messenger of Athens
PRAISE FOR FINDING NOUF:
"Ferraris shows how the clash of tradition and desire, especially for women, is fraught with danger both hidden and overt... She open[s] Saudi Arabia for mystery fans to reveal the true minds and hearts of its denizens."
-Los Angeles Times
"Remarkable...Its mystery takes place within a culture that has itself largely been under wraps...It's the individual journeys of Nayir and Katya, who abide by their society's strictures even as they are frustrated by them, that elevate Finding Nouf to a larger human drama."