Book Review: DUKE, Rozlan Mohd Noor

Book Review: DUKEInspector Mislan Latif Book 2, Rozlan Mohd Noor

DUKE, Rozlan Mohd Noor

Mystery: DUKEInspector Mislan Latif Book 2, Rozlan Mohd Noor


The DUKE is an acronym for a major Malaysian highway. During a busy holiday, traffic is disrupted by a car resting on the shoulder dangerously near the lane. It soon becomes clear why the car is not moving. Both occupants, a man and a woman, are dead, shot in what is clearly a murder-suicide. The investigation finds no evidence of any other person within the car, nobody reported seeing anyone exit the car, the murder weapon belongs to the man and is in the car, and the man is a well known and well connected businessman leaving town to spend the holiday with his mistress, the woman in the car. Clearly they argued about something, the man pulled his gun and shot her, then in a spasm of remorse shot himself.


Inspector Mislan Latif is not convinced.


Latif has questions. Lots of questions. Why would the man kill this woman whom all accounts said he loved very much? How did the man manage to draw his gun from the opposite side of the woman, lean over while driving and shoot her at point-blank range, then shoot himself and leave the gun lying neatly between the two of them? Most of all, why do his bosses and the federal police want him to close the case and leave it be?


Latif can smell a coverup and he is not playing that game.


Rozlan Mohd Noor is a retired Malaysian investigator and he writes with an insider’s perspective. I have read very few books set in this country so every page is a delight for this American who longs to travel but has only briefly crossed the northern and southern borders of my own country. The Malaysia he describes is filled with the scent of spices and curry along with the exhaust of cars and smell of sweat and the ever-present humidity. Islamic holidays shape the calendar, the calls to prayer compete with horns and trucks and the noise of any large city. Slums and high rises, rich and poor, honest cops and corrupt politicians, sensitive investigations and a sense of justice make Kuala Lumpur both like every other big city and unique unto itself.


Inspector Latif would be at home in police departments around the world, so long as he had access to the incredible foods of his country. He is tough, savvy, dogged, incorruptible, and a total pain in the ass to his superiors and the government officials and businessmen who want a specific outcome much more than they want justice.The character is recognizable from police procedurals set around the world. That familiarity, though, only goes so far.


Good people, good cops, good intentions, and good food can be found in cities around the world. But just as Malaysian cuisine is informed and flavored by its position along the south Asian sea routes, a Malaysian cop is also shaped by his religion, his culture, and his home among the diverse and disparate peoples who make the peninsula their home. Noor has given us a treat through this series, and I will definitely be coming back for more.


DUKE, Rozlan Mohd Noor

Book Review: DUKEInspector Mislan Latif Book 2, Rozlan Mohd Noor

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