Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Nowhere-Land by A. W. Hill. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.
ISBN-10: 1-58243-498-0 (1582434980)
ISBN-13: 978-1-58243-498-8 (9781582434988)
Publication Date: June 2009
List Price: $25.00
Review: If you enjoy participating in Internet role-playing games and take pleasure in reading a challenging mystery set in exotic locales in the Middle East and Asia, then A. W. Hill’s Nowhere-Land is the novel for you. However, this novel is no easy beach read, and it will make you question what you believe in. This is Hill’s third novel, which continues to feature P.I. Stephan Raszer as the lead character.
A leader of the Jehovah’s Witness, whose daughter Katy is missing, contacts Stephan Raszer and asks him to find her. Raszer is a private investigator that specializes in rescuing young adults kidnapped by cults. In addition, a triple homicide has also occurred the night of the abduction. The murders and the kidnapping appear to be related, and all clues lead to a possibility that Katy was sold into a sex or terrorist ring. Raszer travels to Turkey, Iran and Iraq in his quest to find her. Katy’s sister Ruthie, a rogue CIA agent and a group of gamers aid Raszer. Raszer has to enter and play the game in order to find Katy. But can he trust them? Who is the “Old Man” that is in charge of this sex ring? The answers will amaze and surprise you.
I enjoyed reading this novel, and it earned 4 out of 5 stars. It was challenging to read because I was unfamiliar with RPGs (Role Playing Games) and the terminology involved. Originally I thought that this would not be a book that I would like, but I was wrong! Stephan Raszer is a person who puts his own life on the line to save young adults and bring them back to their parents. His young daughter, Brigit and his assistant Monica are both minor characters, but they are developed and add a sense of humanity to a novel filled unfamiliar realities. Their support and input help Raszer solve the mystery. The ending had two surprises and both kept me guessing. My main criticism was that some sections of it dragged on, and I also had trouble reading parts of it due to my unfamiliarity with RPGs. However, I look forward to reading the other two Stephan Raszer novels.
Special thanks to Ruth Miller for contributing her review of Nowhere-Land and to Counterpoint for providing a copy of the book for this review.
Review Copyright © 2009 — Ruth Miller — All Rights Reserved — Reprinted with Permission
If you are interested in purchasing Nowhere-Land from Amazon.com, please click the button to the right.
Synopsis (from the publisher): After a young member of the Jehovah’s Witness Church is abducted in conjunction with a ritualistic triple homicide in the mountains outside of Los Angeles, the church engages cult specialist Stephan Raszer to find her perilous trail. Based on evidence that the girl may have been trafficked into a sex and terrorism ring with a Middle Eastern nexus, Raszer soon unveils an inside-out reality that begins on the Internet and ends in a fabled fortress on the borderlands of Turkey, Iran, and Iraq, where a powerful figure known only as the Old Man is said to hold the strings.
With the dubious aid of the abductee’s wayward sister, along with a renegade CIA agent and a fraternity of sojourning gamesters, Raszer journeys far from the rational world and deep into a dangerous and erotically charged netherland. Piece by piece, he gathers evidence of a world-altering criminal conspiracy linked to an ancient Persian sect that uses an Internet role-playing game to recruit its foot soldiers. To solve the puzzle and find the girl, Stephan Raszer must play the game and try to hold on to his soul and his sanity in a world turned on its head.
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