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Parker Bilal / Jamal Mahjoub Books In Order

Publication Order of Makana Mystery Books

The Golden Scales (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Dogstar Rising (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Ghost Runner (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Burning Gates (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
City of Jackets (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Dark Water aka Drowning Light (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Navigation of a Rainmaker (1989) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Wings of Dust (1994) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
In the Hour of the Signs (1996) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Carrier (1998) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Travelling with Djinns (2003) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Drift Latitudes (2006) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Jamal Mahjoub is a Sudanese-British author that writes crime novels under the pseudonym of Parker Bilal. Trained as a geologist, Jamal has pursued numerous careers, having worked as a painter, librarian, translator and even as a chef.

+Biography

Jamal Mahjoub is a British-Sudanese author that was born in London in 1960. The author’s earliest years were actually spent in Liverpool before his family made the move to Sudan where his father is from.

Jamal can trace his scholarly origins all the way back to Comboni College where he was tutored by Italian priests. Though he probably has far more to stay about the days he spent at the University of Sheffield, which he attended after receiving a grant from the Atlantic College to study geology.

It was during his Sheffield days that Jamal Mahjoub began to write. The activity came easily enough to him, and the texts he produced where published in magazines. Jamal never stayed in one place for too long. In fact, he went on to live in a number of countries, from Denmark to Spain and even Egypt.

The author eventually found a sense of permanence in Northern Europe. However, he could never forget about Africa. The continent had a special place in his heart and he quickly found that Africa was making frequent appearances in his literature.

Jamal would often explore the history of Africa, its science and superstitions, not to mention its people, their living conditions and ability to exist in harmony despite their varied backgrounds.

The author began his journey as a novelist in 1989 with ‘Navigation of the Rainmaker’. The novel was a general exploration of Africa’s innumerable problems and the moral dilemmas that the foreigners who traversed its nations faced.

He went on to look into the nature of Sudan’s educated elite, that first generation of fortunate individuals from Sudan who had a chance to attain Western Education and who were subsequently burdened with the task of building and shaping an independent nation.

The connective aspects of Jamal Mahjoub’s books are not only his focus on Africa but the role politics plays. Jamal’s books are not always positive, especially as he reveals the turmoil and uncertainty that has always swept through Sudan since its emergence.

It isn’t that difficult to understand why Jamal Mahjoub would choose to create the persona of Parker Bilal. Jamal Mahjoub writes explorative pieces about Africa. Parker Bilal, on the other hand, writes crime thrillers.

Jamal created Parker Bilal by taking the names of his German refugee and Nubian Boatman grandfathers and combining them. Parker is best known for his Makana books. Makana is a detective hailing from Sudan, and he is written to be one of the most cynical men on the continent.

Makana is weary of the world. He saw Sudan tear itself apart under the weight of religious authoritarianism, not to mention the greedy hearts of men. And he lost his family along the way.

Exiled to Egypt, Makana can see the same traits of chaos and turmoil writhe through his new community. He might be worn, but the wisecracking detective is exactly what Egypt needs.

Parker Bilal’s thrillers are just as biting and explorative as Jamal Mahjoub’s more intellectual texts. Under both names, Jamal strives to give Africa a voice. He allows its soul to shine through as he takes users on a journey through a land that they might have heard about but probably do not understand.

Because Jamal Mahjoub is so transient, he is probably best placed to produce the novels he writes, books that take a closer look at culture and dissect the attitudes and mindsets of people.

Over the last several decades, Jamal has lived in numerous cities. He understands people. He has seen them operate within their places of comfort, and he knows what makes them tick. This is what makes his books so biting.

Interestingly enough, Jamal believes that his transient nature is more of a burden than a benefit. Specifically, Jamal doesn’t believe he has a real tone of voice because he has no real identity. It would be erroneous to call him a British author. However, just because he writes a lot about Sudan doesn’t mean that he is a Sudanese writer.

Jamal doesn’t belong anywhere. He has no people behind him and on whose behalf he speaks; neither does he have a tradition. This might explain why Jamal’s books are so difficult to categorize.

+Travelling with Djinn

Yasin doesn’t know who he is. This is problematic because he has taken his son on a journey with the intention of revealing to young Leo who he is. At thirty-seven years of age, life makes little sense to Yasin.

He cannot quite make sense of his identity. Being a child of Sudan doesn’t tell him much, and neither does his connection to his English mother and Arab Father.

But Yasin knows he has to tell his son something. With his wife on the cusp of divorcing him, Yasin won’t have too many opportunities in the future to give his son the answers he needs.

So they traverse Europe in Yasin’s old Peugeot, learning about the continent’s history as Yasin meets old lovers, finds lost brothers and attempts to understand the world his son will inherit.

This book centers on a road trip undertaken by a father and son as Yasin tries to find some sort of purpose in life. Djinn are good and evil spirits from Arab Mythology that haunt people.

The ‘Djinn’ in this book’s title refers to the memories that Yasin must confront as he attempts to pass his experiences on to his son, experiences that could shape the way he views the multicultural world he will live in.

Along the way, Yasin begins to discover the value of love and family.

+Navigation of a rainmaker

Tanner left England for Khartoum in search of fulfillment of one sort or another. All he finds is suffering in a place where people can barely scratch out an existence.

Jamal Mahjoub’s first novel has a lot of exposition in it, and it isn’t until the second half that things really get going. Jamal endeavors to give readers a glimpse into the sufferings of a people living in a country destroyed by poverty and war.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Parker Bilal / Jamal Mahjoub