Baghdad Central by Elliott Colla is a very brave book which looks at the chaotic situation immediately after the invasion of Iraq and the establishment of the Coalition Provisional Authority. We’re invited to see both sides of the coin through the eyes of Inspector Muhsin al-Khafaji. When the Americans arrive, he tries to keep a low profile, but he gets caught up in a sweep and is persuaded to continue working as a police officer for the CPA. Not surprisingly, this makes him a collaborator in the eyes of patriots who are fighting the occupying forces.
When asked to investigate the murder of some Iraqi women who were working as interpreters, al-Khafaji’s life becomes significantly more complicated because there are plots and counterplots in motion. As the first of the suicide bombings and attacks on the coalition forces get underway, our hero comes into possession of material that would be embarrassing to both sides. Whether he can find the right balance and survive is left uncertain, although his prospects seem to be slightly improving at the end of the book. This is a book for anyone interested in the invasion of Iraq. It’s reasonably evenhanded in its criticism of both sides.
|Bitter Lemon Press
|Buy this Book
|Mystery, Crime, Thriller