Frightful Friday is a weekly meme in which I feature a particularly scary or chilling book that I’ve read that week. This week’s featured title is By Any Means by Chris Culver:
- Series: Ash Rashid
- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (May 6, 2014)
- ISBN-10: 1455525987
- Source: Publisher
His days as a homicide detective over, Ash Rashid has replaced chasing criminals with heading the D.A.R.E. problem in Chicago-area elementary schools. However, when he discovers two dead bodies in a car on his commute home, he’s quickly sucked back into active duty. The individuals deaths are not accidental, instead victims of a deadly brutal murder. As Ash learns more, this goes beyond a “simple” murder case to something far more dangerous and deadly.
What makes this novel stand out to me is the protagonist, Ash Rashid. A Muslim man, struggling with alcoholism, he is presented in a manner completely unlike the perceptions many people have with the Muslim culture. His family and religion are important to him and, while they don’t play a predominant role in this novel, they are certainly paramount his life. It quickly becomes clear that Ash finds it difficult to reconcile his line of work with his religion, this conflict largely responsible for his drinking problem.
For me, it was a breath of fresh air to find a protagonist that wasn’t your typical white, Catholic, man. It’s quite unfortunate that there aren’t many characters like Ash in crime fiction, or fiction at large. It’s important to see individuals like Ash in a positive light. That’s not to say that Ash isn’t flawed…he most certainly is. This adds an element of reality, of humanity, to his character.
While this is the third book in a series, I felt it served as a good stand alone. While it’s obvious that Ash has a past, Culver does a good job of providing enough back story to bring new readers up to base on what has transpired in the past.
If you are looking with a strong police procedural, this is the series for you. Recommended.