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Alan Drew Books In Order

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Publication Order of Detective Ben Wade Books

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Gardens of Water (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon

Alan Drew is an American crime, psychological thriller author best known for his Detective Benjamin Wade series, Shadow Man (2017) and The Recruit (2022). His debut novel Garden of Waters, published in 2008, has been translated into over ten languages and published in more than a dozen countries. Drew graduated from Iowa Writer’s Workshop with a Teaching/Writing Fellowship. He works as an associate professor at Villanova University, where he’s in charge of the creative writing program. Drew lives near Philadelphia with wife and their two children.

The Middle East crisis doesn’t seem to end anytime soon, and America’s militaristic presence in that part of the globe continues to be met with hatred by people at home and abroad. Due to this fact, there have been tons of books written about this subject matter as the Iraq war bubbled into far east countries such as Syria, Yemen, and Iran, resulting in thousands of deaths in the name of freedom. Simply because Alan Drew’s novel, The Gardens of Water, revolves around this literature version, it by no means be viewed as standard middle east war literature.

Alan Drew’s debut novel begins with a loss. We meet the 9-year-old Ismail as he lets go of his father’s hand as he and other passengers board an Istanbul ferry. But the father’s panic for his son doesn’t go unnoticed, and within minutes Ismail is lofted from one passenger to the next towards his father as a king carried above the people.

Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey, is where the West meets the East across the Bosporus, dividing Asia from Europe. It’s also a city where the Muslim world bisects with Christianity, where traditional and agrarian society is challenged by modernity. The city itself, from its mosques to nightclubs, encloses a modernized community’s tensions. In layman’s language, Istanbul is a city that stands on a fault line.

Gardens of Water tells of the seismic waves that pulsate through the lives of two distinct families in the aftermath of a deadly earthquake that hit west of Turkey in 1999. The next time Sinan (Ismail’s father) sees his son floating is on a bed as their apartment building collapses. Trapped in the jumble of broken concrete, Ismail survives, but thanks to the efforts of an American woman trapped alongside him who dies while giving him water from a damaged faucet.

As a result of the war between the Kurdish guerillas and the Turkish Arm, Sinan and his family are among the villagers who have fled to what seems a safer zone outside the city. In such a challenging time, they have raised and taken care of their beloved son but also have a daughter, Irem, who seems isolated due to the apparent reason of parents’ preference for Ismail over her. Held captive by her family’s expectations, Irem is captivated by the American professors who live in the flat above her, especially by their slinky adolescent son, Dylan, who breaks local norms in ways that Irem finds both frightening and hypnotic.
Through divisions, disconnections, and changing viewpoints, Drew uniquely crafted a novel that dives into the lives of two families and their distinct interpretations of the decisions and events of their everyday life. On the one hand, Dylan loves listening to pop music on his small Walkman radio, which is the main point of contact between him and Irem. But the earphones block out the outside world, and rock music gives Irem a personal freedom that is out of this world. She goes against her parent’s values by befriending Dylan and soon falls in love with him. The Turkish refugee in her camp discourages her as a fool and unchaste woman.

At the start of the 21st century, their world is a 19th-century version where a woman has little more than a reputation to maintain or lose. But still, Irem is not sure whether she should abandon her adolescent passion for a chaste and arranged marriage just like that of her parents.

Gardens of Water allows the reader to relate vividly to the young love flourishing between Dylan and Irem. It goes ahead to show that people from opposite worlds can relate with each other and that love is always possible, even when challenged by the worst circumstances. Each page of this novel is a surprise, and the story takes a twisted turn when you think you’ve figured it out. Additionally, the characterization is quite interesting since Irem (a conservative girl) and DYLAN (a boy with knowledge about the world) allow us to understand the world’s distinct perspectives better.

Alan Drew spent three years in Istanbul working as a teacher and witnessed the earthquake firsthand, allowing him to describe it so vividly. He uses this background information to create a thought-provoking novel set in a realistically described Istanbul. Gardens of Water is more than just a romance novel; it details more about honor killings, prejudice, culture conflicts, and relationships between the Turkish, Kurdish, and Americans.

Shadow Man is the first book in the Detective Ben Wade series by Alan Drew. It begins with paranoid contemplations of a person as they head out to kill a woman alone in her home. When detective Ben Wade is tasked by a friend to assist with the homicide case, it’s not long before they realize that Southern California could be harboring a killer, one with a thirst for strangulation and sneaking through unlocked windows and screen doors.

As much as the story is about a murder investigation, it’s also a story about one’s man’s battle with himself. It’s a story about victims- the dead woman on the kitchen floor, a dead boy in the strawberry fields, and a restless detective tasked with the cases. Two serial killers, one of the soul and the other one physical. Shadow Man is a story about destruction and the physical beauty of picturesque southern California until developers moved in. The story also explores damages on all levels; psychological, physical, and landscape. And as the old saying goes, no one escapes this life alive, and so no one escapes this book unmarked.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Alan Drew

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