The Eyes of Lira Kazan by Eva Joly and Judith Perrignon
|The Eyes of Lira Kazan by Eva Joly and Judith Perrignon|
|Reviewer: Ani Johnson|
|Summary: A tense, exciting page-turner linking the head of Nigeria's fraud squad, a Russian journalist who will follow a good story through anything and a French prosecutor who has way too much curiosity for his own good.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 367||Date: April 2012|
|Publisher: Bitter Lemon Press|
What do you get if a prize-winning journalist pairs with a prosecuting judge/politician to write a novel? The answer is something really rather excellent, The Eyes of Lira Kazan in fact.
The novel throws you straight into the action with three apparently unconnected events. Nigerian fraud squad investigator, Nwanko Ganbo, realises it's time to get his family out of the country when he finds a colleague and good friend in his car, very dead. The solution is simple: the British government offer him a new life as a lecturer in return for silence about the corrupt regime he has spent so long investigating. Meanwhile the wife of a rich Faroese banker accidentally drowns in full ball gown whilst in Nice but junior prosecutor Felix and his judicial colleague aren't as easily convinced about the accidental nature as their superiors seem to be. The third piece of the jigsaw originates in Russia as local journalist Lira Kazan shows an interest in the life and transactions of Russian millionaire Louchsky. This isn't the healthiest thing she's ever done as people seem to have died for less.
Their experiences are absorbed and turned into something exciting, enthralling and incredibly topical. So topical, in fact, the plot could've been lifted from today's newspapers. Russian millionaires living in London in search of more opulence than their homeland can accommodate, corrupt African regimes silencing dissident voices, the banking crisis... it's all there along with themes that are more ethical than political. For instance is it less cowardly to remain silent about injustice when outspoken bravery comes with high cost to innocent bystanders? Is diplomacy really for a nation's benefit if it means consorting with those of nefarious (and often downright brutal) leanings? But if you're not into dissecting undercurrents, there's still plenty for you.
Often in thrillers the character development takes second place to the action. Not in this novel - the authors have created a balance, along with an interesting use of technique. We know the judge is someone of high moral values as he's repeatedly referred to by his job title, a device that highlights his vulnerability as things go awry and suddenly he's referred to by his first name. Then there are the three front runners. Nwanko tearing himself apart as he wrestles with versions of the right thing to do, knowing that someone will get hurt. Lira, single-mindedly going after the international scoop whilst agonising about the safety of her daughter. Felix just not wanting to leave something half finished and becoming more and more intrigued as each stone is upturned. The authors have definitely ensured that not only does the reader surf from one adrenalin rush to the next, but the people encountered on the way have more than a tinge of reality about them. However, with such expert insight there is also a downside.
The logical argument follows that, if Eva Joly and Judith Perrignon do know of what they write (and they definitely seem to), then The Eyes of Lira Kazan could be deemed accurate in its themes and consequences and, if it's accurate these, then perhaps the novel's governments' ideas and actions are also accurate. This then leads us to a question for which the answer could be even more frightening than the novel that prompts it: What sort of world are we actually living in? Perhaps we don't want to know... or perhaps we should.
I would like to thank the publisher for giving Bookbag a copy of this book for review.
If you've enjoyed this and would like to try another political thriller, perhaps you'll like The Dying Light by Henry Porter.
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