Coming April 2024
Published April 2024
WOW! The Spy is the perfect mix of contemporary politics, humour, action and romance. It transported me from Brick Lane to Kashmir with love, empathy and a compelling narrative that explores themes around racism, prejudice, political subterfuge, terrorism and all of these are explored in a knowledgeable and accessible way.
Thought provoking and informative, The Spy is the best in a series that just keeps getting better and better with each installment. Chowdhury is the master of combining hard hitting themes with humour (sometimes dark) and romance. In Kamal and Anjoli he has created a modern day Holmes and Watson – the main difference being that the characters shift equally well between both roles, with neither always being the foil to the other’s superior wit (although IMO Anjoli perhaps carries the edge there).
I am so pleased that there is a new short story about to be released which will take me on moreadventures with this intrepid duo.
Kamil Rahman #4 Detective Kamil Rahman is now employed at the Met though, as per usual, he’s in a spot of bother at work and Anjoli is not happy with him. At all. When he receives a phone call from Imam Masroor expressing concern about extremism and terrorism linked to Kashmir, Kamil goes to meet him to learn more. When Kala Naag- The Black Cobra is mentioned, Kamil takes this information to his friend and boss, DI Tahir Ismael, who in turn informs SO 15 (Counter Terrorism) at New Scotland Yard. Kamil is asked to go undercover by MI5 to infiltrate a group of potential militants at a mosque in Loxford, East London. Initially Kamil refuses, but when things take a serious turn with the disappearance of the Imam, he agrees. His role is to pose as a disgraced and disaffected cop in order to infiltrate the cell. His quest takes him on a physical journey to Kashmir, but also an uncomfortable journey down memory lane as it’s clear his old nemesis in India is linked to the investigation. Meanwhile, Anjoli at the Tandoori Knights restaurant is wrestling with her feelings for Kamil and has a side investigation of her own. This is a bit drawn out at the start with the author starting to connect the plot dots but once it gets going we’re off and a fast paced, rapidly moving storyline keeps you glued to the pages. This is a complex plot and is very believable and I find the Kashmir angle fascinating. The descriptions when Kamil is there are excellent with its beauty jumping from the pages but its difficulties are clear to see. The plot has tension in abundance with the obvious dangers of undercover work with all its attendant possibility of discovery as Kamil discovers himself at the heart of the big puzzle. Kamil has to think on his feet on more than one occasion and you wonder if he can pull it off. He’s at great risk, who can you trust and what moves should I make to get the information MI5 want without endangering himself or others? As the plot develops it’s very good on how torn Kamil becomes and you can understand why. This is a very topical plot which the author handles well as there is a balance of views. You do require a little suspension of disbelief towards the end, but it makes for very exciting reading AJ Choudhury has created some marvellous characters here. This is a crowded genre, but Kamil and Anjoli stand out in my opinion. I love the will they/won’t they vibe between those two and the added confusion of the arrival in London of Kamil’s ex Maliha, who is also an interesting character. The scenes that take place in the restaurant always add colour and taste to the storytelling and they are excellent at relieving the tension of Kamil’s under cover task. The peppering of humour is welcome too though there’s less of Anjoli’s T- shirts this time. What a shame, I love those! Overall, this is another good addition to the series, there’s a different tone this time but it makes for a compelling reading. I’m looking forward to the next adventure or should that be venture? With thanks to NetGalley and especially to Random House UK, Vintage for the much appreciated arc in return for an honest review.