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The Quality of Mercy

a novel

Katayoun Medhat

Winner of the 2017 Leapfrog Fiction Contest

Meet Franz Kafka, conflicted cop, wide-eyed cynic, hapless investigator on an odyssey across the Navajo reservation, pursuing a perplexing murder case.

Quixotic cop Franz Kafka’s small-town routine is disrupted by a mysterious death at Chimney Rock. Navajo cop Robbie Begay joins the murder investigation, which leads the mismatched duo across the reservation into the victim’s fraught past, to associates whose lives are overshadowed by heinous crimes, cunningly camouflaged meth-merchants and sweet-natured squash-growers. The killer, it turns out, lurks much closer to home.

Tony Hillerman fans will welcome Medhat’s excellent debut and series launch, a refreshing take on Navajo country’s crime, culture, and history. … After the discovery of a man’s body carefully laid out near Chimney Rock, white policeman Franz Kafka (aka K), who has settled in fictional Milagro, San Matteo County (“one of the few places left in the Western hemisphere—and possibly the Eastern too—where his name rings no bells”), teams with Robbie Begay, a tracker with the Redwater Navajo Tribal Police. At the crime scene, Begay makes a number of impressive deductions. … As they investigate … Begay and K swap stories, insights, and insults that brilliantly illuminate the daily obstacles that Native Americans encounter. Medhat, who holds a Ph.D. in medical anthropology, uses pathos and humor, tragedy and comedy, to spin an entertaining and original mystery.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Move over Walt Longmire. Make room for Franz Kafka, aka ‘K.’ Expertly plotted, beautifully written, eloquent, colloquial, wry, insightful . . . Medhat demonstrates a keen sense of place and Navajo culture and history, with superior attention to language; smart, witty, often humorous and always precise analogies, metaphors, and similes. A sharp eye for detail and sprachgefühl for putting observations into words. Style, grace, a confident, compelling, and controlled narrative voice. The sophisticated narration dances from omniscient to close-third without any false steps or trips. A very smooth operator, this writer. The characters glide off the page. This book is a high-wire act, and the author shines a bright, steady beam on the dark stage where clashing cultures meet.” —SARA PRITCHARD, author of Crackpots

Region: Fictitious small town Milagro/San Matteo County; Rural American Southwest & Navajo Nation.

Grand Landscapes: Rocky mountain foothills, mesas, Anasazi ruins, desert, sandstone, deadly highways, meth-labs in the boondocks. Cultural Diversity: Anglo/Native/Latino living (uneasily) side by side

The Quality of Mercy is Part I of the Milagro Mysteries trilogy exploring cultural diversity in the Southwest. Part II, Lacandon Dreams, focuses on the fictional Milagro’s Mexican American community, with wider reference to the historical socio-cultural legacy of the conquista.

About the Author

Katayoun Medhat

Katayoun Medhat was raised in Iran in a multicultural household and experienced her first significant cultural shock at a Catholic convent boarding school in rural Germany. She studied anthropology in Berlin and London and meandered through a variety of occupations and organisations. Working in a residential adolescent psychiatric unit—which she now realizes was the sanest place she ever worked in—taught her much about individual resilience, the restorative power of groups and the human capacity to temper adverse experiences with humour. She went on to train and practice as an intercultural psychotherapist before embarking on a PhD in medical anthropology, which led her to the Navajo Nation. She lives in Brighton, UK, and does field work several months each year in the American Southwest.

THE QUALITY OF MERCY • Katayoun Medhat

286 pages • ISBN 978-1-935248-95-8 Trade paperback, $16.00
(ebook available) September 29, 2017

Published by Leapfrog Press LLC • www.leapfrogpress.com

Distributed to the trade by Consortium Book Sales & Distribution • www.cbsd.com

The Quality of Mercy

 

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