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With Babel Barry Maitland invests new zest into his already hale and hearty series of murder mysteries featuring London-based Serious Crimes Branch detectives Kathy Kolla and David Brock. When a controversial and respected academic is shot down, execution-style, on the steps of a lecture theatre at the University of Central London East, Brock is called on to investigate. Islamic radicals are initially suspected of the murder of this outspoken denouncer of fundamentalism, but closer examination of the circumstances paints a more complex picture and Brock becomes embroiled in a quickening mystery. Meanwhile, Kolla, traumatised and rattled by recent events, is toying with the idea of resigning but is inadvertently drawn into the case. This is a gritty and energetic tale with enough twists to keep the reader guessing. Maitland's strength is to evoke atmosphere and create convincing scenarios populated by characters to whom we can easily relate. He touches on topical issues-Islamic fundamentalism, the human genome project, white supremacism, business sponsorship of educational institutions-and in so doing educates us while keeping us spell-bindingly entertained. This book will appeal to lovers of high-quality crime writing, particularly those already familiar with Kolla and Brock, and, most likely, to fans of The Bill as well. William Gourlay is a Melbourne-based editor, reviewer and freelance writer. C. 2002 Thorpe-Bowker and contributors

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