1 December 2017

Review #686: East of Hounslow by Khurrum Rahman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Everyone’s worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there’s really an easy way: Stop participating in it.”

----Noam Chomsky

Khurrum Rahman, a Pakistan-born, British author, has penned a pot-boiling thriller, East of Hounslow that revolves around a low-key 30-something Muslim drug dealer, who still lives with his mum in the British town, Hounslow, who is not very religious, yet for the sake of religion, he attends the Friday prayers at a local mosque, but little did he knew that he has been on the radar of MI5 for a very long time, so when he loses the deadly supplier's money, this drug dealer gets caught up as a pawn in the war between religious extremists who wants the world to teach a lesson in the name of Allah and the MI5's one-man team who wants to stop the jihadists at any cost.


Meet Jay.

Small-time dealer.

Accidental jihadist.

The one man who can save us all?

Javid – call him Jay – is a dope dealer living in West London. He goes to mosque on Friday, and he’s just bought his pride and joy – a BMW. He lives with his mum, and life seems sweet.

But his world is about to turn upside-down. Because MI5 have been watching him, and they think he’s just the man they need for a delicate mission.

One thing’s for sure: now he’s a long way East of Hounslow, Jay’s life will never be the same again.

With the edgy humor of Four Lions and the pulse-racing tension of Nomad, East of Hounslow is the first in a series of thriller starring Jay Qasim.

Javid Qasim, a.k.a, Jay (and trust me, he would love you if you call him Jay) is a Muslim small-time drug dealer living with his widowed mother in a small town in London, who spent his life's earning on a BMW car. But sadly, on a revenge mission to teach the white guys a lesson for destroying their local mosque where every Friday Jay goes for evening prayers just for the sake of his religion, Jay's car get stolen along with the cash that he owed to his creepy and deadly drug supplier. Little did Jay knew that he was on the radar of MI5's one-man team who is on a mission to curb terrorism from the face of his country. So when he is given a choice to betray his Muslim friends to become a spy for MI5, Jay realizes that he has become a pawn in this wild game of terrorism. Can he survive the mission of the jihads' as well as of the MI5's?

Honestly, while reading I felt like reading a book by not some debut author, but by a seasoned author. My god, the plot is simply brilliant and it kept me hooked on to the story line till the very last page. Laced with funny anecdotes, this fast-paced thriller is really one of its kind. Even though the book addresses the issues with Muslim religion's extremists and with their ideals and the misguiding in the name of the Holy book, with lots of sensitivity and thoughtfully. The author's perception of this story proves that he is a man whose imagination knows no bounds and that can drown the readers deeply and intensely through his vivid story-telling.

The author's writing style is excellent, in one word. Laced with dry humor and subtle sarcasm, the narrative is engaging to its very core and will keep the readers turning the pages of this book till the very end. The pacing is really fast, considering its tightly packed plot that has intense mystery to keep the readers intrigued. And not to mention, the story is narrated from the perspective of a grown yet a bit immature man, who will non-stop tickle the funny bones of the readers despite of the threat and the danger he is undergoing in the story.

The mystery concocted by the author is really smart, strong and clever enough, laced perfectly with enough twists and turns to keep the readers anticipating till the very end. Thy edgy suspense and the gripping tension is laced flawlessly into the plot. Although, for seasoned crime fiction readers, I bet, they can easily figure out the major twist pretty easily, just like me. Otherwise, its a captivating thriller with so many elements like adrenaline rushing actions, high paced religious extremists' drama to give that rushing feel to those who will read this book.

The characters are amazing, not the lot, just the protagonist, who is realistic and authentic enough to keep the readers gripped to the story line. The main character, named, Jay is one hell of a protagonist, who will not will crack up the readers like anything now-and-then, but will also challenge them all throughout the story line, His sense of humor is super amazing and so his not-so-mature mind, yet his determination and his curiosity will make the readers fall for him. The rest of the supporting cast of okay, sort of interesting, but could have been much better if their demeanor was explored a little bit more.

In a nutshell, this turned out to be an engrossing read till the very last page and I would suggest all the crime-fic lovers to grab a copy of this book upon its release.

Verdict: Often funny, absolutely riveting and adrenaline-rushing thriller into the dark world of terrorism.

Courtesy: Thanks to the publishers from Harper Collins India for giving me an opportunity to read and review this book.

Author Info:
Born in Karachi, Pakistan in 1975 Khurrum moved to England when he was one. He is a west London boy and now lives in Wraysbury with his wife and two children. Khurrum graduated with BSc Honours and has been working in IT for a Local Authority for over 18 years.
His keen interest in fiction initially drove him to write screenplays and write for an independent film maker. However, his true passion lies in reading crime thrillers which have inspired his current work. He has employed his unique perspective and careful study of great writers to develop a fresh voice that crackles with originality.
Visit him here

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