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Brother Kemal by Jakob Arjouni

Brother Kemal (2012)

by Jakob Arjouni

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Kayankaya (5)

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499355,837 (3.69)6



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English (8)  German (1)  All languages (9)
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
A fun quick read. A nice bit of pulpy fiction ( )
  Hassanchop | Jul 4, 2016 |
A good read and fairly gripping. The chief character is a Turkish resident of Frankfurt, who is a private eye and who is vastly expensive. The only problem that I saw is that his intuition works double overtime, and he seems to know much more than the reader or anyone else. The story is quite good, as two cases are interwoven and have connections. The hero, Kemal Kayankaya, is no hero and is beaten up (justifiably) by someone whom he kills. I will read the other books with this man as the central
character. ( )
  annbury | Mar 16, 2016 |
Received this book via Real Readers, so it's not one I would have personally picked, but it is of the crime genre that I tend to favour. Although it is the fifth in a series of books featuring private detective Kemal Kayankaya, it promised to be a stand alone book with no need for prior knowledge of the character.

At the beginning of the book, and up to the first half, I did not particularly like Kemal Kayankaya as a character, although I got that he is supposed to have a sarcastic sense of humour which is something I usually like in a character. I just didn't find him credible or likeable - perhaps something was lost in the translation for me, as i found that the sentences did not flow very well and it was quite hard going.

After the first half, with the introduction of Katja, I found the dialogue between her and Kayankaya much easier to read, and i found humour in Kayankaya's character. I especially liked the scenes between these two characters. I found the second half of the book much easier to read, and i wanted to continue reading to find out what happened next.

The story ended with a surprise that i was not expecting, which was good. I liked the unpredictability of the second half and ending much more than the first half, which i really struggled with. I think that this was perhaps due to the fact that I had not read Arjouni before, and found his style of writing more challenging than my usual read.

Although I would not deliberately seek out the other books in the series, If i came across them I would probably purchase them to read in the order they were meant. This would be my preferred way of reading this series, and I feel that my review would have been more favourable had i read the previous four books before this fifth one. ( )
  claireh18 | Aug 20, 2013 |
An Excellent Novella

This was an excellent introduction to Kemal Kayankaya a German Turkish detective, and like all good detectives a complete outside. This is the first time this novel has been translated from German into English and it is easy to see why Jakob Arjouni was such a revered writer in Germany.

The premise of the book is quite simple; Kayankaya is hired to find the 16 year old daughter of Valerie de Chavannes who lives in the diplomatic quarter in Frankfurt. He has been hired as he us Turkish and maybe able to move in the circles required to find her. On the way to liberating the kidnapped child, Kayankaya stumbles over a dead body of a pervert, drugs and the nephew of an important Imam in Frankfurt.

Once he has finished with one case he is hired to protect a Muslim writer who has written a controversial book and will be at the famous Frankfurt Book fair. What he doesn’t count on is that the two cases will merge in to one through abduction. He is able to finally clear both cases as long as the police do not look too closely.

This is an excellent book and a very welcome translation in the popular series of Kayankaya series. It is a shame that there will be no new books due to the untimely and early death of writer Jakob Arjouni. This is a magnificent book well worth reading and very enjoyable, fast moving and doesn’t hang around. Written in the first person we see the world through Kayankaya eyes.

I recommend this book whole heartedly as it brings northern European crime novels through a true outsiders eyes to the conscience. Have a read and I am sure you will be buying the rest of the books in the series. ( )
  atticusfinch1048 | Aug 18, 2013 |

Kemal Kayankaya is a Turkish private eye working in Frankfurt. He is hired by the wife of an artist to find her missing 16 year old daughter who is alleged to be with an older man, a photographer. Whilst he is preparing for the missing person case, he is also hired for a body guarding gig for a Muslim author at Frankfurt Book Fair. The Muslim author has written a book about a homosexual Muslim and is apparently threatened with violence by religious extremists. Both cases are straightforward but once one bleeds into the other it leads to abduction and murder.

This is the 5th book in the Kemal series, I have not read any of the other books. Despite a couple of references to earlier cases and, I suspect, recurring characters I didn't feel it was necessary to have read the other books to follow the plot.

The book has been translated into many languages and has won awards including the German crime fiction prize. It is a very fast read being less than 200 pages long and in an easy reading style. It's not really my cup of tea so with that proviso take the following with a pinch of salt.

It felt as though the author was trying too hard in the first chapter, to establish Kemal as a Sam Spade/ Phillip Marlow style character. It's also heavy on the misogyny as he ogles the woman who is hiring him to find her daughter. I almost didn’t get past that first chapter but luckily the book settles down somewhat from that point for a fairly standard plot. Kemal is in his 50’s and he and his ex-prostitute girlfriend live together and there is a sub-plot of her trying to get pregnant and him wondering what fatherhood would be like. There were a few incongruities such as pretending to be a police officer but having no badge, or police car or convincing story and yet being believed. For me there was nothing to elevate this above the standard for the genre. It was competent and, although well written (a good translation) there was nothing to elevate it or convince me that I needed to spend any more time with Kemal. I won’t be getting the other books in the series.

Overall – Pretty standard PI tale ( )
  psutto | Aug 17, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
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Jakob Arjouniprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bell, AntheaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Valerie de Chavannes, a financier's daughter, summons Kayankaya to her villa in Frankfurt's diplomat's quarter and commissions him to find her missing sixteen-year-old daughter. She is alleged to be with an older man who is posing as an artist. To Kayankaya, it seems like a simple case: an upper class girl with a taste for adventure. Then another seemingly posh job turns up: a major publisher needs to protect a writer who has offended Islamist groups during the Frankfurt Book Fair. The two cases seem to be straightforward, but it goes all-wrong for Kayankaya, as it almost always does. Luckily, that's when he's at his best.… (more)

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