Sirens of Baghdad is a novel about a suicide bomber in Iraq and promises an insider's view. Mohammed Moulessehoul, who writes under his wife's name of Yasmina Khadra, seems ideally placed to imaginatively inhabit and demystify the terrorist mind. He is a former Algerian army officer and the author of two previous novels exploring Middle Eastern terrorism. This novel completes the trilogy, but readers expecting penetrating insights into the Jihadi mindset will be disappointed. Like his last novel, The Attack, it’s written in lurid, clichéd prose, and fails to illuminate the connection between radical Islam and suicide bombers. This more predictable narrative, however, lacks The Attack's cumulative tension and menacing, nightmarish atmosphere.
The narrator, an unnamed Bedouin Iraqi, is in Beirut, preparing for a deadly mission on enemy territory which will be ‘a thousand times more awesome than the attacks of September 11’. Contemplating his own end as well as the annihilation of the entire population of the West, he looks back