This is the third book written by Bilal Parker that I have read. It is also the third book on the adventurers of the private detective Makana. He hails from Sudan where he worked as a detective for the police. After his wife and daughter died at a car crash he left his native country and moved to Cairo where he lives on a barge in the river Nile. He has taken up his old profession, but now in a private capacity. He words as a private detective.

In this book, just as in the first two books on Makana, I enjoyed the way Parker Bilal (= Jamal Mahjoub, or the other way round?) takes me by the hand when he travels through the city and through the countryside. I wait with him in a traffic jam, I stroll with with him in a busy street. I sit next to him when he takes a drink at his barge when the sun sets. It is not difficult to keep track of Makana but you need some long distance endurance for Bilal does not like to write thin books on Makana. But it is no punishment, not at all. He keeps you company and takes you along the dwindling roads of life.

Makana gets a job given to him by the wife of lawyer Ragab. She wants to know what her husband is up to. Does he have a mistress? Why does he spent time outdoors? Makana follows him but there is no woman on the side. There is this girl Karima in a private clinic, who is burnt to the umpteenth degree and she does not survive in the end. He reports his findings. Next he gets a job by the lawyer who wants to know who set fire to this young lady. Ragab knew Karima and her mother Nagat. The request Makana accepts starts of a chain of events that leads him to a small town in the desert, where he hopes to find the father of Karima.

The book does not start with mister Ragab, but with mister Musab Khayr, a refugee from Egypt who lives in Denmark. One day he is abducted and taken into a plane and the plane takes of. It is shortly after 9/11. What happened to this man? Who abducted him and why?

Makana travels to the small desert town of Siwa. Here he hopes to find more information about the father of Karima, who has left the country. The local people are not very willing to give Makana much information and he gets involved in local affairs when people get murdered. Is this a new lead or is this a completely different situation. .

Not only Musab hails from this town, but also his wife Nagat. He traces information about this information. He tries to help the local police in its investigations of a local khadi and the murder of other people. Are these murders connected to each other? And is there a lead to Musab, that mysterious young man with a tainted reputation?

Parker Bilal again has produced a well written book on the private detective Makana. He hands out little bits of information that in the end interlock. A well done job. .

Parker Bilal – The Ghost Runner – Bloomsbury 2014

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I enjoy reading about Africa. New books. Old books. By African writers. By non-African writers. Novel. History. Travel. Biographies. Autobiographies. Politics. Colonialism. Poetry.

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