A thoroughly current thriller in which lawyers and financiers are the manipulators of Middle East conflict.
Salehi begins his novel with a brief history lesson spanning 1964 to 1978, the events that led to the fall of the shah and the beginning of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This prologue, centered on a family whose patriarch is executed by the new regime, is concise, clear, and moving. When the story proper picks up in present-day Washington, D.C., though, it loses its way. Reza Shirvani, son of the executed father, is now a securities attorney at a top-notch law firm. His mother and sister are still in exile in Afghanistan and need money to escape to America. Reza is driven by duty and guilt to bring them to safety, so he's always looking for cash. When Clara, an old flame, calls him to meet with the head of the international investment firm where she works, things begin to look up. But chief executive George Gibran’s network of informants has Reza and his roommate, Travis, in their sights after they use inside information from company trades and things go terribly wrong. Reza’s spur-of-the-moment trip to Farah, Afghanistan, to save Clara and his family is so contrived as to be unbelievable. It's disappointing that a book that starts so well fails to live up to expectations.
A valiant attempt to tie together the invisible threads of modern conflict that never finds its voice.