The book is set in Istanbul, where the glories of the Ottoman Empire have long vanished. One of the quirkier attractions of the modern city are the transvestite clubs, which offer a wide variety of diversions (some of them very physical). When a series of corpses begins to appear (some recently killed, others murdered years before), the world of the clubs is very disturbed -- particularly as the methods of dispatch are often extremely unpleasant. The narrator of the novel, the club-owner Burcak, is a transvestite, routinely described as ?she? by those who know her (even though Burcak is male, with no surgical alterations); Burcak has been dealing with personal threats based on her irreligious behaviour, but now it's beginning to look imperative that she track down a particularly nasty killer.
As well as being a crime novel of a particularly outrageous character (rather like the author, in fact), we have the added value here of being taken into the transvestite gay subculture of Istanbul, which will be something of a new experience for most crime readers. And Mehmet Murat Somer is the perfect tour guide to this unusual world (where the iconoclastic secular world rubs shoulders with an unbending, religious ethos); Somer?s skill as a writer has enabled him to create a particularly unusual protagonist. The author has said that he may be straying into pastures new with future books, but in the meantime this entertaining outing is more than enough to be going on with. --Barry Forshaw