- Special Features
- Blogs & Columns
- Fun & Games
A young woman is found dead in Tehran and Darius Bakhtiar is called to investigate her murder. He doesn't get far when the Komiteh – Iran's moral authority – pressures him to drop the case because the girl is considered a prostitute and unworthy of an investigation. But the circumstances surrounding the girl's death are a mystery begging to be solved, and when another woman turns up dead Darius realizes he is on to something much bigger than a dead prostitute. He quickly finds himself on the hunt for a massive amount of heroin, a chemical warfare agent, and the lone surviving member of the Brides of Blood – a band of women prepared for martyrdom – who may be the key to solving the mystery.
Originally published in 1993, MysteriousPress.com and Open Road are re-releasing Joseph Koenig's masterful tale of suspense and intrigue. I'm so glad they've reprised this gem of a thriller.
"Brides of Blood" has it all. The hero is a complex figure struggling with his own past and present in modern-day Iran. The villains – and there are several – are ruthless, deceiving monsters with foibles and ambitions that keep them from becoming caricatures of evil. Best of all, it has a story that moves at a steady pace and is full of twists and turns to keep the reader on their toes.
I don't know how accurate is Koenig's image of Iran twenty years into the Islamic revolution, but it's an incredible backdrop for the story. The beauty of a great city peaks through the ruinous surface brought about by the theocratic authority. Secret police lurk around every corner and common religious fanatics give the state-antagonist a chameleon-like element. No one can be trusted and the threat of betrayal is heavy in almost every encounter.
The pinnacle moment is an extended torture scene in the infamous Evin Prison. It's a grueling several chapters long episode that tests Bakhtiar's mettle, and a superb example of Koenig's talent with words and drama.