Mystery Debut of the Month, July 2012

starred review starMogford, Thomas. Shadow of the Rock: A Spike Sanguinetti Novel. Walker. Aug. 2012. c.272p. ISBN 9780802779991. $25. M

Gibraltar tax attorney Spike Sanguinetti agrees to help childhood schoolmate Solomon Hassan fight extradition to Morocco when Solomon is accused of murdering his boss’s stepdaughter, Esperanza, in Tangiers. Being Jewish, Solomon fled the country because he is convinced the Moroccans will happily convict him. Spike travels to Tangiers, where he finds the authorities less than cooperative and Solomon’s employer, a solar power company called Dunetech, most sinister. After a harrowing night, Spike tracks down Zahra, a Bedouin woman who knew Esperanza and suspects Dunetech had something to do with her death since the company covets the Bedouin lands. Spike manages to find enough allies to save his life, and along the way, he achieves some justice for those who need it most. VERDICT Guns, grit, and torture: this breathtaking debut runs through the shifting sands with aplomb. Mogford’s exotic locales, gorgeous prose, and closing twist make this debut a showstopper. [Previewed in Kristi Chadwick’s Genre Spotlight feature, Crime Travels, LJ 4/15/12.]