Fiction from Hossain and Quinn | Xpress Reviews

Week ending October 13, 2017

starred review starHossain, Saad Z. Djinn City. Unnamed. Oct. 2017. 238p. ISBN 9781944700065. pap. $17.99. F
On the basis of this (literally as well as figuratively) fantastic novel, Bangladeshi author Hossain (Escape from Baghdad) is a comer. Ten-year-old Indelbed lives like an orphan, ignored by his father, Dr. Kaikobad, in a crumbling mansion in Bangladesh. Whenever he asks his drink-sodden parent how his mother died, the Doctor answers, “Death by Indelbed.” When his father falls into a supernaturally induced coma, Indelbed discovers that the Doctor is an important magician, brokering transactions between men and djinn. Something about Indelbed displeases the djinn: they declare a “hunt” with Indelbed the prey. So many, and so fantastic, things happen then that it’s hard to keep track in this fast-paced novel of supernatural and natural hijinks. It spans more than ten years, with rock wyrms and an incipient dragon, a mage with no legs, and one character, a djinn, who is a large school of fish. (Think “collective consciousness.”) No other author writes exactly like Hossain, but lovers of China Mieville’s Kraken may recognize the terrain.
Verdict An outrageous hodgepodge of adventure and humor, this novel should appeal widely to lovers of the fantastic and of Middle Eastern and South Asian literature.—David Keymer, Cleveland

Quinn, Tara Taylor. A Family for Christmas. Harlequin Superromance. (Where Secrets Are Safe, Bk. 13). Nov. 2017. 384p. ISBN 9780373640508. pap. $6.99; ebk. ISBN 9781488017322. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Dr. Simon Walsh lives alone in a cabin with one goal in mind: do whatever it takes to repair the damage inflicted to his eye. He stumbles across an unconscious girl in the woods in more need of his help than either of them knows. Cara Amos’s abusive husband has left her for dead, and she is positive she has done something terrible, although she isn’t sure what it is. Edward Mantle has lost his daughter, Cara, and is now trying to raise her daughter, Joy. Unsure of how to proceed, he finds himself leaning on Lila McDaniels, the director of a family shelter. Lila is great at her job and considers the residents her family as she doesn’t feel worthy of her own. Quinn (For Joy’s Sake) takes readers along on a journey with these four struggling individuals, all looking to find where they belong and to believe they are deserving of family and love.
Verdict While not your typical seasonal romance, this story will remind readers of what the holidays are truly about: being with the ones you love.—Jessica M. Strefling, U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, Washington, DC


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