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The Arsonists’ City by Hala Alyan begins with one very stark and totally unexpected sentence: “Tonight the man will die”.

I wonder if you feel as alarmed as I did by that? The prologue, The Wrong Ghosts, that contains this sentence is a sad, unexpected tale with unanswered questions. In the first chapter, we meet a few of the characters many years later who are older and married now. These characters now have grown children.

The character development is excellent as the author starts to reveal bits and pieces about the lives of these children, their parents and even long-dead ancestors. But still that sentence reverberates through my mind as I continue to read. I know the relationship that this couple had with the dead man, but there are a lot of questions about whether or not they, or at least one of them, was somehow complicit in his murder.

I enjoyed the authors writing style. She has a way of making so much of the book very atmospheric.

The only thing I never really care for in any book is the use of swear words and they appear here and there throughout the book. There is also a good bit of sex which is usually referred to as the f word.