The Abbey - Chris Culver I was originally attracted to this inexpensive Kindle book by a negative review. The reviewer (amidst a hoard of positive reviews) had complained that since the protagonist was a Muslim cop, she had hoped to learn something about the law enforcement aspects of Sharia Law. Hmmm. Knowing that Sharia Law encompasses much more than anything related to law enforcement and that I was sure that an American cop would enforce American law regardless of his/her faith (with the exception perhaps of the theocratic-ally oriented evangelicals now hoping to dominate our lives.) So I immediately downloaded a copy to my Kindle (instant gratification is a wonderful thing.)

Detective Sergeant Ashraf Rashid works for the Prosecutor’s Office in Indianapolis. “I had been named after my father, although I hadn’t ever met him. He had been a history professor at the American University of Cairo, but one of his students shot and killed him before I was born. Apparently that kid's family took grades seriously. The remnants of my family immigrated to the US shortly after that.” When his niece dies under suspicious circumstances, his ex-partner, Olivia, invites him to tag along for the investigation. When the boy who was with her when she ostensibly died from drinking tainted blood (I kid you not, some kind of teenage vampire thing,) commits suicide by falling on a stake (the only way vampires can die, his suicide note explains,) and the homicide Lieutenant seemingly ignores obvious disconnects, Rasheed decides to investigate himself. Rashid is also going to law school. There a great scene where Rasheed is confronted by the professor, clearly a Kingfield type

Lots of stuff related to Muslim religious practices (can’t eat pancakes fried on the same griddle with bacon, not allowed to drink alcohol for non-medicinal use - he imbibes but rationalizes it’s medicinal because of the job-- different burial rights, etc.) Nothing that would alarm anyone familiar with Catholic transubstantiation (scary indeed) or Jewish burial and eating practices. All religions have really bizarre rituals. The one link to his faith with regard to law enforcment was “a calling deeply rooted in my identity. I may not have been a very good Muslim, but my religion called me to seek and foster justice. It’s a divine edict as stringent as any command in any faith. Nobody gets a pass, least of all somebody who hurt my niece.”

My one reservation with this book has more to do with my personal preferences than writing or plot, both of which are quite good. The lone hero, the “Dirty Harry,” cop I find to be singularly flawed and which force the character into impossible situations from which they must heroically extricate themselves in the most implausible manner. In the meantime, I'm shouting, “you dimwit, why didn’t you tell someone where you were going? or something similar.” Nevertheless, good story, well told.