Grafton (I don’t think we ever know his first name?) is trapped within a small, Eastern European country, his passport confiscated. He’s remarkably calm about everything, generally goes with the flow and eventually becomes a principal investigator in the secret police force. His case involves voodoo dolls, mysterious disappearances, ghosts, a disembodied hand (think The Thing), and a cult of satanists. All in a day’s work!
The story was really a page-turner for me, really enjoyable… until the ending. Made me feel like I did during LOST: everything’s just a little bizarre, plot twists abound, and each answered riddle yields a whole new crop of mysteries — but unfortunately, when the big reveal is finally out, we’re still left with many questions.
What was the significance of the dictator was always present but ignored – symbol of Big Brother?
Why did Russ Rathaus lie?
Why did Father Zenon get invited to investigate the cult?
The country is a grimly humorous depiction of an entrenched, corrupt and controlling government. Even without the mystcal stuff, everything just follows a different sort of logic that we are used to in the West. For instance the way they (sometimes) incarcerate prisoners: pick a random citizen (maybe one of your rivals) to be the “jailer” – if the prisoner manages to escape, then the jailer gets shot. And the prisoner too, once they catch him.