Praise for Baghdad Central:
— “A murder mystery set in post-Saddam Baghdad is as good as it is daring.” Jane Jakeman, The Independent.
— “Colla is a master of callous narration.” Jonathan Guyer, The Guardian.
— “How do you like your roman noir? Is your preference for crime, with the central protagonist a policeman? Check. Do you like it action packed, moving from venue to venue? Check. A complicated plot, where not everything is as it seems? Check. …The end result is as remarkable a book as I have read this year.” The Journal.
— “The Big Hit.” Geoffrey Wansell, The Daily Mail.
— “This atmospheric and gripping book creates a compelling mystery and predicament for its hero, and memorably evokes a time and place many in the US have all too quickly put out of mind.” Ursula Lindsey, The Arabist.
— “Colla’s debut novel is a genre-defying blend of thriller, police procedural and historically informed fiction.” India Stoughton, The Daily Star.
— “Baghdad Central is probably the only work — whether fiction or nonfiction — that tries to tell the story of the American invasion from the point of view of an Iraqi nationalist... This noir novel is ultimately an in-depth exploration of the psyche of the collaborator, and his or her key role in military occupation.” Neve Gordon, L.A. Review of Books.
— “A roman noir… where the protagonist is not necessarily a detective but... a suspect, a perpetrator or the victim of a corrupt system. … The novel graphically illustrates the breakdown of moral clarity....” Sally Bland, The Jordan Times.
— "A complex and compelling book, full of twists and turns but also with a strange beauty to it. Waterford Today.
— “Baghdad Central is politically astute, beautifully constructed, and a rattling good read.” New Internationalist Magazine.
— “An intriguing first novel… Colla writes of a beleaguered secular Arab culture with deep empathy.” Publishers Weekly.
— ‘Just when you think that nothing in the overcrowded crime field can surprise you any more, along comes a writer like Elliott Colla who takes the genre by the throat and shakes it vigorously. Baghdad Central is a rich and allusive piece of writing, informed by the writer’s experience in both the Middle East and Washington. Its authenticity is matched by a masterly command of the mechanics of suspense.’ Barry Forshaw, Crime Time
— "It is rare to find a first book of such high quality, and which gives such a penetrating and realistic insight into the impact of a forceful external shock to an ancient and singular culture." Chris Roberts, Crime Review.
— ‘One rarely finds Iraqis in American fiction except as Orientalist stereotypes or objects of political desires and fantasies. Baghdad Central is unique in this respect. Its Iraqis are subjects with agency and humanity. Colla knows the cultural and political topography very well. The chaos and cacophony of the American occupation are captured vividly. The narrative is smart and smooth. This is an intense and well-written novel. A pleasure to read.’ Sinan Antoon, author of I‘jaam: an Iraqi Rhapsody and The Corpse Washer
— ‘A gripping tale of mystery and intrigue in the claustrophobic, morally treacherous world of post-invasion Baghdad, an environment where relationships can detonate as readily as car bombs. This is a compelling noir crime novel told from inside Iraqi society that lays bare the easy slide from personal to political treachery, where every crime is also a national wound. A great read! ‘ Jenny White, author of The Winter Thief, A Kamil Pasha novel
— ‘Powerful and authentic, Baghdad Central is a perilous journey through the dark maelstrom of wartime Iraq that will make you want to reach for a flak jacket and glance over your shoulder for surveillance, even as you’re marvelling at its abiding humanity.’ Dan Fesperman, author of Lie in the Dark
— "Four Stars. Baghdad Central by Elliott Colla is a very brave book which looks at the chaotic situation immediately after the invasion of Iraq and the establishment of the Coalition Provisional Authority." David Marshall, San Francisco Book Review.