Kingdom of Strangers.KINGDOM OF STRANGERS
Zoe Ferraris, Little, Brown, A$29.95
Ferraris is an American, once briefly married to a Saudi, which gives her insight into a unique background for detective fiction: the desert kingdom and its sexual politics. Katya is one of the few women in the detective force, and a serial killer is targeting women. The setting is riveting, and Ferraris is also an adroit storyteller. For her characters, the personal is not only political but subject to religious law. Strong stuff, well told.
Mark Haddon, Jonathan Cape, A$29.95

The Red House by Mark Haddon.A divided family, brought together by bereavement, take a country holiday together. One man hides an affair; the teens hide their mutual attraction and repulsion; a woman tries to avert psychic disintegration. People are described through belongings, as if without goods they are nothing. Being English, they are hopeless at expressing emotion. It is a domestic fiction that triumphantly transcends the mundane, written with a real sense of danger.

Matti Friedman, Scribe,A$27.95
This book is a mystery story about a 10th-century annotated Hebrew Bible which is believed to be the definitive version. However, 200 pages are missing. Supposedly the damage came from Muslim rioters in 1947, who set fire to the Syrian synagogue which housed the codex. It was believed destroyed, but resurfaced in Israel 10 years later. Friedman's investigation follows the codex on its journey, in a tale of smugglers, spies and human greed. A fascinating read