Many action books portray a totally perfect hero, but Abdelgawad gives us a real man with real problems. Zaid struggles with self-doubt, depression, poverty, and family insecurity. As we are given details about his troubled past, we learn about a young man struggling to express his Islamic identity in modern America.
A Tale of Triumph and Tragedy: Zaid Karim Private Investigator (Book Review)
Wael Abdelgawad doesn’t hold back in this intense thriller about a Muslim private detective. While other authors stick to sugary romances and frenzied family sagas, Abdelgawad takes us on a fictional journey into the heart of the criminal underworld.
Drug lords, assassins, traffickers, and gangsters – this book has it all. Zaid Karim, a struggling American private investigator is up against them to find a missing child. Anyone would think that he is mad, but he is impassioned with a burning desire to rescue an innocent child. The journey will take us across countries, through criminal feuds, and into cartel dens. Will Zaid manage to find the child, and bring her home safely? Why is an innocent young girl even missing in the first place? Zaid leaves this final surprise until the very end.
Abdelgawad has set the pace of the book brilliantly. We start in the dull backstreets of San Francisco, where a penniless Zaid sits at his desk wondering where his next meal will come from. Zaid has had a tough life, he’s an ex-convict and separated from his family. He’s feeling pretty hopeless, but then a figure walks in and offers him $10,000 to take a case. Naturally, Zaid is pretty skeptical – this sounds like the sort of job that is in the darker side of the grey area of the law. Things change when he learns about a missing child. One thing leads to another, and soon the book builds up to a tremendous roar of drama as Zaid reaches the very top of the criminal world whose hands the young girl has been pushed into.
However, this book isn’t just about crime. The missing child is a member of Zaid’s family, and Zaid definitely has a complicated family. There is a long-running feud splitting it down the middle. Some members of the family have got themselves involved in crime, and accusations of corrupting influences are being made all over. Zaid loves his wife dearly, but she left him in a fit of unjustified jealousy, and Zaid calls her to come back in vain. His daughter is his whole world, but his wife cruelly keeps contact between them to a minimum. The circumstances of the missing child are deeply intertwined with that of his family, and it makes for a storm of turmoil that Zaid must negotiate.
Zaid begins to lose hope of returning to a happy family, but little did he know his story with his wife isn’t over. Is it true that hardship can bring people together?
These troubles definitely play on his mind, and it’s comforting to see a realistic role model for young, modern Muslims. Many action books portray a totally perfect hero, but Abdelgawad gives us a real man with real problems. Zaid struggles with self-doubt, depression, poverty, and family insecurity. As we are given details about his troubled past, we learn about a young man struggling to express his Islamic identity in modern America. These ideas will surely deeply resonate with readers.
At first, we are shown the wrong way to approach expressing Muslim heritage in America. Zaid gets involved in crime himself, thinking that he is fighting a good fight. In prison, his life undergoes a transformation as he realises how terribly wrong he was. Zaid turns his life around, setting out to protect and help innocent Americans regardless of their political or religious background. He’s still haunted by his gangster past, but the misery he saw now only motivates him to protect others from the same fate.
Zaid is a committed Muslim, and his moral principles shine forth in this book. Throughout his journey, he regularly helps the needy. At one point, Zaid even throws himself into a canal to save the life of a depressed father, Niko. This eccentric Panamanian becomes his companion and helps Zaid out of danger more than once.
Anyone familiar with Wael Abdelgawad will know his penchant for martial arts. This book doesn’t disappoint, and there are plenty of thrilling combat scenes to keep the pages turning. A lot of these fights centre around Kali, a combat art that uses sticks as a weapon. If you are not into martial arts at the moment, I feel this book will leave you googling the location of your nearest martial arts class.
Readers should be warned that this book is not suitable for children or those easily triggered by violence. Not only are there detailed descriptions of physical injury, but the book also deals with the issues of prostitution and paedophilia. There are also brief references to naked and immodestly dressed women. Personally, I feel these are unnecessary and take away from the overall suitability of the book.
Overall, this book is about overcoming adversity. In such terrible circumstances, and up against such great difficulty, one may wonder why does Zaid do it? He asks himself this question many times throughout the book. Deep inside, Zaid realises that he has a love for protecting the innocent, especially when it comes to his family. However, even with all his motivation and expertise, Zaid knows that is unable to carry out the task alone.
Zaid regularly turns to Allah for strength and guidance, and it is this inspiring example that takes the book to the next level. As Muslims, we are taught the principle of relying on Allah, but here Abdelgawad shows us this principle in action. Overall, this book shows us that in difficulty, we can turn to Allah and He will provide. Alhamdulillah.
You can find this book on Amazon here!