Fear of Beauty An Afghan woman defies her husband and societal pressures to investigate the death of her son.

- Nominated for 2014 Simon & Schuster Mary Higgins Clark Award, Mystery Writers of America

- First Place, at-large competition; second place, Best Novel for Adult Readers, National Federation of Press Women

- Nominated for Best Suspense Lovey Award, Love Is Murder Conference



"...an exceptionally well-written tale of love, loss, trust, and greed with appeal that reaches far beyond mystery fans." - Publishers Weekly


The battered body of an Afghan boy is found at the base of a cliff outside a remote village in Afghanistan. Did he fall as most of the villagers think? Or is this the work of American soldiers, as others want to believe? Not far from the village, the US Army has set up a training outpost.

Sofi, the boy's illiterate young mother, is desperate to learn the truth about her son's death. Her world is turned upside down, first by the US troops. Then extremists move in and offer to roust the "infidels" from the region, adding new pressures and restrictions for the small village and its women. The young mother worries about the threat to her family, her way of life, and a crop she grows in secret, one that allows her village to thrive.

We hear two sides of this story. One is Sofi's. The other is that of US Army Special Ranger Joey Pearson, who's in this faraway place to escape a rough childhood and rigidly fundamentalist parents.

Defying all odds, Sofi secretly learns to read-with the help of Mita Samuelson, an American aid worker. Through reading, the Afghan woman develops her own interpretation of how to live the good life while discovering the identity of her son's murderer. With fierce and independent courage, she also learns the extremists' real purpose in her village.

As they search for answers, Sofi, Joey, and Mita come to the same realization: In each of their separate cultures, the urge to preserve a way of life can lead to a fundamentalism that destroys a society's basic values.


Seventh Street Books
Paperback: $15.95
978-1-61614-702-0
For media review copies of Fear of Beauty
or interview requests, please contact
Meghan Quinn, Publicist
Phone: 800-853-7545