In UTube – Inspector Mislan and the Emancipatist Conspiracy, Rozlan Mohd Noor has written another excellent police procedural, enjoyable both for the mechanics of the investigation (forensics, leg work, computer savvy – and a bit of luck) and for its detailed background in Kuala Lumpur. And, of course, for its food. It seems there is always food – from nasi lemak for breakfast to chili crab for dinner.
In this third book of the series, however, Rozlan takes a slightly different approach than in the first two. Rather than having Inspector Mislan and his team as the leads on a murder case, they are seconded to a cross-divisional investigation into a series of rapes that have been carried out in an oddly “organized” way, with videos posted to UTube shortly after. Inspector Sharifah Azlina Syed Abdullah (known as Sherry) and her team, from the Sexual and Child Abuse Investigation Division, have already been working on the rapes when the roommate of one of the victims gets killed, almost by mistake, after she surprises the rapists by coming home unexpectedly. As a result, Mislan and his team end up joining the already on-going investigation, and readers get to watch as Sherry’s and Mislan’s different styles and approaches clash, and sometimes mesh. And in the end, in spite of lots of interference from above, they piece together the picture of what is going on.
Having read the first two books in the series, I liked seeing familiar characters like Mislan, Detective Sergeant Johan Kamarudin, and Mislan’s amazing boss, Superintendent Samsiah. (Although I don’t think it’s necessary to have read the first two books before reading this one, it probably helps a bit.) It was also fun to hiss at the somewhat one-dimensional press-attention-seeking OCCI, Burhanuddin Sidek. But I think I enjoyed meeting the new team even more, including Sherry, Detective Deena Sofea Azman, thier boss Superintenent Lillian Wong Wee Sin, and the IT-techie Saifuddin Rahim. I hope we get to continue to see these folks in the ongoing series. All-in-all, UTube is a quick and fun read, and I look forward to more titles coming out in e-book. If you’re interested in my reviews of the first two books, they are here and here. And my thanks to Arcade Crimewise for the advance review copy.