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The Prisoner


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About the Author

Omar Shahid Hamid has served with the Karachi Police for twelve years, most recently as head of counterterrorism. During his service, he has been actively targeted by various terrorist groups and organizations. He was wounded in the line of duty and his office was bombed by the Taliban in 2010. He left Karachi for a sabbatical when there were too many contracts on his life. He has a Masters in Criminal Justice Policy from the London School of Economics and a Masters in Law from University College London. This is his first book.


"A gripping portrayal of a casually corrupt city . . . The Prisoner offers gritty insights into how Pakistan works at ground level, and how dangerous it is."--Declan Walsh, The New York Times

"To make the imaginative leap necessary to understand . . . Pakistan in general--the best book to read is not an academic or policy work, but a thriller: The Prisoner, by Omar Shahid Hamid, a respected senior officer of the Karachi police. I hope that this book will be published soon in the US. I strongly suggest that Western policymakers read The Prisoner before they next call for a military "crackdown" on Islamist militancy in Pakistan." --Anatol Lieven, New York Review of Books

"A thrilling roller-coaster front seat tour . . . A must-read novel for those who want to know what really ails Karachi and why." --Express Tribune (Karachi)

"A chilling novel about cops and the criminal underworld in the megacity . . . The Prisoner exposes the putrid, bloody underbelly of Karachi, as only a police officer could know it . . . a world so dark that readers will come away terrified." --Wall Street Journal (India)

"As well as being authentic, this book is also smart. . . . But the best thing about The Prisoner is the insight it gives into the thinking of, and the challenges faced by, policemen operating in one of the toughest cities on earth." --Owen Bennett-Jones (author of Pakistan: Eye of the Storm), in Dawn (Pakistan)

"Unvarnished . . . The book's plot and characters exhibit a vivid and nuanced authenticity that rise above the pulp-procedural style. Graft and extrajudicial killings are a casual part of the officers' jobs, but so are acts of real, if reluctant, courage and self-sacrifice taken to protect the city against criminals and jihadists." --Harper's

"An incredibly flavorful book, combining an excellent plot, a clever narrative voice, and a uniquely Pakistani perspective. . . . The Prisoner is excellent as a book. It is even better as a slice of culture."--Wordpress.com

"A pacy thriller." --The Hindu

"For his sobering debut thriller, Hamid draws on his own experiences as a police officer to plunge the reader headfirst into the murky world of Pakistani politics and justice . . . Hamid does a good job making D'Souza and his fellow officers sympathetic." --Publishers Weekly

"An exhilarating crime novel. . . . Hamid's portrayal of the city, the police, and the byzantine political play is nuanced and sophisticated. Karachi is Pakistan's largest and most vibrant city, and he lays it bare as only someone who has lived and worked there could." --Nishant Dahiya, NPR

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