As a doula hired to provide guidance and support to pregnant women, Amani Abdelhamid’s foremost concern is for the well-being of mothers and their much-anticipated newborns. One of her appointments goes terribly awry when she arrives to find the mother-to-be, Najat Tagouri, bleeding to death in her bedroom. To make matters worse, her husband is lying on the floor, also dying. Within a matter of minutes, Amani’s life takes a terrible turn when the police find what appears to be the murder weapon in her hand. Charged with three counts of homicide (including the fetus), her future looks very bleak.
No one who knows the doula accepts her guilt. This includes Nahibab Sadiq, who operates a posh shelter for women out of her Richmond mansion. Several of her guests (and one employee) have Amani as their doula. At their urging, Nahibab hires Ari Ciminon (the 56th Man) to prove Amani’s innocence.
Ari immediately becomes entangled with lawyers, social workers, bail bondsmen, an Arabic voice performer who mimics Mel Blanc, a novice PI, a grouchy imam, Latino and Hispanic immigrant laborers and Lubna Obaid—a death doula.
But Ari is on the clock. His injured wife Rana is due to arrive at Portsmouth Naval Hospital within days, if not hours. Riven by guilt because of a sexual indiscretion, he is desperate to make amends. His long-anticipated reconciliation is threatened when he is caught up in a turf war between a cantina owner and a powerful drug cartel. Yet there is more at stake. A dark cloud hovers over Ari’s future. Even his cat suspects the reunion with Rana might cost Ari his life.
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I am the author of more than fifteen novels. I was born and raised in Virginia, where I currently reside. I was First-Place Winner of the Hollins Literary Festival a number of years ago. Among the judges were Thomas (Little Big Man) Berger and R.M.W. Dillard, poet and husband of the writer Annie Dillard. Along with my wife, I have rescued and maintained 22 stray cats, which should tell you something about me (good and bad). Permanently addicted to writing, I have just posted the 9th book in the Ari Ciminon (The 56th Man) Series.