Tom Callaghan explores Akyl Borubaev’s true partner in crime

Tom Callaghan, author of the Inspector Akyl Borubaev series, explores his protagonist's true partner in crime.

Posted on August 25, 2017 in Guest Author, Partner in Crime
Tags: Crime, akyl borubaev, tom callaghan

Tom Calalghan is the author of the Inspector Akyl Borbaev Series. The hotly anticipated third installment of the series, A Summer Revenge, is out now. Here, the author tells us about the Inspector’s true partner in crime, and it’s not who you think!

For Akyl Borubaev, Inspector in the Bishkek Murder Squad, his most trusted partner is not a colleague or a close friend. It’s not even a person. What drives Borubaev on and acts as his partner is his attitude, his belief that everyone is important just by being human, and that his job is to find justice for the dead, the ones unable to speak for themselves.

As he says, ‘Death comes with such a final slamming of the door, the only way to continue is to look back, remember and then move forward, hoping to do the best for the dead by the ones who still remain.’

It’s a philosophy completely at odds with the current workings of his country, Kyrgyzstan, still trapped in the poverty and corruption that followed the almost century-old occupation by the Russians, and two revolutions after independence from the USSR.

Akyl believes passionately in the traditional Kyrgyz values of respect, honesty, a close, almost sacred connection to nature. It’s a way of viewing the world that sets him at odds with the rich and powerful, making him many enemies along the path.

Still in mourning for his dead wife, Chinara, Borubaev finds consolation in his memories of her and the sense that she would approve of his fight for truth and justice.

The crimes he sets out to solve are some of the most brutal imaginable, and its victims the weakest and most vulnerable. But even when Borubaev knows it would be easier  –  and far safer  –  to walk away, his determination to do the right thing by the dead outweighs every other consideration.

The Kyrgyz landscape  –  the endless snow-capped mountains, the Alpine Lake Issy-Kul that never freezes, even when the temperature drops to the -20s, the high jailoo pastures where nomads still roam with their flocks  –  is his source of inspiration, a reason to continue. It is the only constant in his life

All his other alliances and friendships are temporary ; even his sometime lover, Saltanat Umarova, works for the Uzbek Security Services, and Borubaev is never sure whose agenda is uppermost in her mind or her actions. She always remains an enigma, and perhaps her past is as scarred as his. All Akyl knows is that he may love her yet never know her truth.

Until then, all he can do is carry on his work, a battered, sometimes cynical man, not afraid to use violence if it helps him solve the crimes that obsess him.

And the reason he gives?

‘Tenderness is the least we owe the dead; we give them so little beforehand.’

Tom Callaghan is the author of the Akyl Borubaev novels. The newly-published A Summer Revenge is preceded by A Killing Winter and A Spring Betrayal All three books are published by Quercus.

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