REVIEWED by Jen B.
TITLE: Backdoor Politics
AUTHOR: C.L. Mustafic
PUBLISHER: Forbidden Fiction Publishing
LENGTH: 317 Pages
RELEASE DATE: November 7, 2017
BLURB: Kamal is a by-the-book mercenary and hitman who keeps to himself, dealing with the brutal politics of the Bosnian underworld. He has very few ties to the world around him since the war that left him broken and betrayed by his lover. An encounter with a fellow mercenary, whose job it is to kidnap the son of the only man Kamal ever loved, leads Kamal to do something irrational. In an isolated cabin in the mountains of Bosnia with his hostage, Kamal follows the well laid-out plan of his predecessor, but somewhere along the way things get personal. The boy in his care becomes more than just a stand-in for his father, but a job is a job and Kamal is a professional. When questions and tensions begin to mount, Kamal begins to put the pieces together for himself, and doesn’t like what he finds. Can Kamal get his revenge and the boy or will he have to settle for one or the other?
Wow, this is a difficult review to write. This is one dark, violent story. Which, of course, lured me right in. 🙂 This story takes place in or around Bosnia, much of the background going back to a time when the country was in war-torn turmoil. Kamal grew up during that time, barely surviving, and that’s before he is betrayed in the worst way by his lover and best friend Orhan. Now, he is a highly paid, successful deadly mercenary.
When his MAWB (Mercenary Acquaintance With Benefits) calls for a hookup, he learns of the job to acquire, torture and who knows what else to Orhan’s son, Zijad, a boy Kamal once thought of as his own. There is a lot of backstory to Kamal’s (and Orhan) relationship with Orhan, but he simply cannot allow someone else to handle this task. He doesn’t hesitate to change the playing field and take the job over himself.
Once he has Zijad, he doesn’t have a come to Jesus moment and suddenly care about the boy. No, he carries on with the explicitly detailed orders of torture even instituting a few of his own. But, you can see his resolve crumbling just a little bit as his interactions with Zijad take place and Zijad’s reactions are not quite what Kamal was expecting.
There are a lot of twists and turns outside of the actual kidnapping. The whos and whys behind what this was supposed to accomplish come to light, and all is not what it seemed initially. In the end, Kamal is left having to re-establish his position as mercenary to show he is the one holding the cards. One thing he becomes certain of is that he wants what belongs to him, and that is now Zijad. With little love lost between father and son, Zijad makes a choice – opting for a life where he is wanted, and cared for, even if not loved.
One thing that I kept wishing for through this story was some translation of the foreign phrases/dialog. I enjoy how having the foreign words helps set the scene, but I also want to know what they are actually saying just as much. But, as for the rest, while it was difficult to stomach at times, especially with the feeling that this couldn’t end in anything but a major case of Stockholm Syndrome, I was turning pages quickly to get to the end of this engaging suspenseful story. If you love a well-written dark (and sometimes violent) story that will keep you on the edge of your seat, be sure to give this one a try. I will definitely be on the lookout for more from this author in the future!