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British author Nadel's deep passion for Turkish culture and her intimate knowledge of that land come through vividly in this riveting crime drama set in present-day Istanbul, but with roots in two of the last century's epic bloodbaths.
Police Inspector Aetin Ikmen, alcoholic, chain-smoking, but somehow endearing, looks into the brutal murder and disfigurement of an aged Jewish immigrant that appears to have neo-Nazi implications. With his youthful colleague Mehmet Suleyman in tow, Ikmen leads us through the back alleys, brothels and barrooms of the city's roughest neighborhoods in an absorbing investigation that involves suspects of many nationalities and mental states, each suffering from a different form of madness or obsession.
Midway through their complicated inquiry, Ikmen declares that the case is like reconstructing "a shattered mirror" whose pieces have flown off in many different directions.
With rapid scene shifts and a constantly changing cast of characters, that mirror is gradually pieced back together to provide a glimpse of the gory end of the tsarist regime in Russia nearly a century ago, and the ongoing terrors of those who survived the carnage only to relive it in their minds. Stunning final twists in this disturbing tale suggest that history's cycles of violence and evil will continue unabated.