A Place of Darkness

Written by Lauren Haney
Review by Steve Lewis

A mystery of ancient Egypt, the fifth book in a series featuring Lieutenant Bak, officer in charge of the Medjay police at Buhen. On a temporary assignment in Waset, near where Queen Maatkare Hatshepsut’s memorial temple is being built, Bak has a twofold task: nab the thief who has been stealing jewels from an ancient tomb, and stop a series of destructive accidents plaguing the construction site. The workers blame a malignant spirit; Bak thinks someone mortal is responsible.

Haney does an excellent job of transporting the reader back in time, giving us an inside view of everyday life in a land of magnificent structures midst relative poverty, and sand so hot one cannot help but feel it through the soles of one’s sandals. She is not so proficient with the words spoken by the inhabitants of this land, however. To my ear, they sound little more than everyday American English. The mystery is disappointing, as well. It takes Bak 80 pages to follow up on an attempt made on his life; if he’d done so right away, the book could have that many pages shorter. A good book, in other words, but far from a great one.