Body Count by Barbara Nadel

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While searching for a new author to read two years ago, I chanced upon Barbara Nadel. Her series featuring Inspector Ikmen and Mehmut Suleyman is set in Istanbul. While this is not a place I’d particularly be interested in visiting, Ms. Nadel’s telling of murder investigations set in this city is fascinating.

I have jumped back and forth in the Ikmen series, depending on what was available to me. Having received my Kindle credit for the book publisher’s price-fixing problems, I purchased her latest – Body Count.

I have said before that I don’t enjoy books with too much blood and gore. The Ikmen series is an exception. True, there is a lot of gore from time to time, but it is handled so well and woven into the plot in a manner which doesn’t have me dropping the book and screaming. High praise.

Body Count builds on the relationships between Ikmen, Suleyman and Ikmen’s sergeant Ayse. There is a serial killer on the loose in Istanbul and there aren’t any significant connections that direct the police for a spell. Once the threads of connection come together, the denouement is swift and startling.

Ms. Nadel has developed her characters over many novels. Ikmen is a short, ugly, scruffy and continuously smoking man with a disdain for the religious and second-sight he inherited from his mother. He is close to retirement and trying to figure out how he will live once it happens.

Suleyman is a womanizer. Born to an old royal family in Turkey, his looks and raw sex appeal give credence to his constant need for female companionship. In the first few novels, he was a sympathetic creature. In this last, even Ms. Nadel is tiring of his libido, which he cannot keep in check. He has fallen from being merely handsome and sexually attractive to being slightly depraved.

Ayse Farsakoglu has appeared in most of the novels. Originally a constable, she has had an on and off relationship with Suleyman. Her obsession for him and her inability to get away from it, has colored her life and ruined at least one promising relationship. The tensions between her and Suleyman and their ill-fated affair motivate almost all of her actions.

Throughout the book, up until the murderer was unmasked, I was totally in the dark. I love that. Reading a mystery isn’t much fun if you can solve the mystery by page 100.

With these relationships woven into the fabric of old Istanbul, along with gypsies and the remnants of the Ottoman Empire, this book is a must read.

Luckily for all of us, Ms. Nadel also writes two other serial mysteries, one set in WWIIย and the other in modern-day London. I have read one of the second series and can definitely recommend it as well-written as the Ikmen series.


13 Comments Add yours

  1. randomrose says:

    Oh yes…Jennifer the adventurer, we are never too old ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. Jennifer says:

    Oh man and here I’m thinking you’re 19! Well I just hit 62 and who knows, maybe I’ll get enough nerve up and go see what I’m reading about!


  3. Jennifer says:

    I know you’ll love these books – I haven’t read as many of the other series she writes – just one so far – but I loved it too. I’m glad you like Daniel Silva – he’s great too.


  4. suth2 says:

    I like the sound of this author. I am enjoying many Daniel Silva books after you recommended him. I will now look out for Barbara Nadel. Thanks for the great review.


  5. randomrose says:

    Off to my library today to get one of her books, the latest on is out on loan with two reserves that is saying something already, I have put it on hold. Turkey is a beautiful country with beautiful and friendly people. We backpacked around on public transport for seven weeks. I can recommend it. My girlfriend and I are both pushing seventy years old and we felt very safe ( of course we didn’t go or do anything we wouldn’t do here in OZ, like roam around at 3am etc.). Thanks for the recommendation.


  6. Jennifer says:

    I got 12.41! I didn’t buy any NYT bestsellers! But I did buy 144 other books in the time frame! I spent most of my credit on Body Count and it was well worth it!


  7. I heard from Amazon about the settlement. I got $25 that will be taken off one of my bills. FYI


  8. Jennifer says:

    I’m armchair brave but backpacking in Turkey would be beyond my scope! I’m glad you liked the post – you will love the Ikmen series – thanks! The gore is gore, but the plots amazing!


  9. randomrose says:

    Thank you for this post. I will check this author out. I have backpacked around turkey so to revisit Istanbul with a bit of mystery will be excellent. I don’t mind a bit of gore if it is in context of the storyline.


  10. Jennifer says:

    I find so few books that I actually haven’t read 100 times that I scream when I find a new author. She’s fantastic and I think I’ve read 8 or 9 of these set in Istanbul. I love them – gore and all. Of course the habitual smoking Ikmen tends to remind me of me ……. he’s always outside catching a butt.


  11. Jennifer says:

    It is gory – totally not me – but for some reason I just adore all of her books. I love Ikmen and even Suleyman (poor thing). And you are right – I love armchair traveling and this is one of the best series for that. Istanbul seems so exotic and dangerous!


  12. What a fabulous book report and post. So interesting. I wish you would write more often but I know time gets away from all of us. I don’t read mystery book, all that much, but I might check these out. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you.


  13. Denise says:

    Looks gory and I wouldn’t have associated it with you, but I am totally sold on the idea of a mystery where you can’t guess the doer of the deed by p100. I hate that! It also sounds a real insight into another culture.


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