I learned about Chris Culver's books in a roundabout way. The day I worked with Habitat for Humanity, a nun introduced me to Culver's mother, telling me he wrote mysteries featuring a Muslim detective who worked in Indianapolis, and The Abbey spent sixteen weeks on the New York Times ebook bestseller list. Fortunately, Grand Central Publishing picked up both his books because these books deserve a wider audience.
Ash Rashad is a former homicide detective, going to law school, and now working for the prosecutor's office. He'd seen too much in homicide, and as narrator, tells why it drove him to drink, despite his Muslim faith. But, he takes on another homicide investigation when his niece is found dead. He isn't supposed to be involved, but goes to his sister and brother-in-law, and "Broke their hearts as gently as I could." But, the coroner declares the death an overdose, and then one of her friends commits suicide. With the cases closed, the police department seems content, but Ash isn't. And, a couple run-ins with a cop in Homicide makes Ash even more suspicious. How did his niece get involved in "drinking blood"? As Ash probes deeper, he becomes entangled in a case involving drugs and threats to his family. That doesn't mean Ash Rashad is gong to quit.
Culver introduces readers to a fascinating new rogue detective who admits "I didn't believe in rules." He may be a loner with a drinking problem, but it's hard to find fault with him for violating tenets of his faith. He says, "I may not have been a very good Muslim, but my religion called me to seek and foster justice." The Abbey is an intriguing, complex story. And, Ash Rashid is a welcome addition to the mystery field.
The Abbey by Chris Culver. Grand Central Publishing. 2013. ISBN 9781455527410 (paperback), 346p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I bought a copy of the book.