By: Behcet Kaya
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Publication Date: June 2007
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: June 25, 2009
Voice of Conscience follows the life of Ramzi Ozcomert Jr. from his childhood growing up in Turkey, to his years in England pursuing an education and finally to his life in the United States where he settles down with a wife, two lovely children and a successful career. More importantly, this book delves into rural life of Muslims in Turkey, cultural clashes with Westerners, and most interesting, how tragedy can slowly eat away at a person’s soul.
Author Behcet Kaya’s novel opens in Atamkoy, Turkey, in the home of Ramzi Ozcomert, his wife, Nermin, their stunning daughter Erin, and inquisitive son Ramzi Jr. Erin is the beauty of the village, and although in love to a man her parents wholeheartedly approve of, there is danger lurking. The senior member of the nearby Korucu family has decided he wants Erin for his grandson. Ramzi Sr. refuses and realizes that by doing so, he jeopardizes his family’s safety. After some of Ozomert’s livestock are harmed, the Korucu sons next come after Ozomert’s family. Ramzi Sr., his wife and daughter are murdered while Ramzi Jr. escapes with the help of his aunt and cousin.
Ramzi makes his way to Istanbul where he is aided by distant relatives. He spends several years working in construction. Haunted by nightmares of his family and their murders and convinced that the killers will hunt him down, Ramzi eventually moves to London. While in England pursuing a degree, he meets and falls in love with Megan, an American. The couple soon marry and move to the States where Ramzi builds a successful business.
There is much to recommend Voice of Conscience. Kaya has an easy writing style that quickly draws the reader into the rich world of Muslim culture. The first section of the book, before the murders, is replete with descriptive events of the villagers, including customs revolving around daily life, dealing with adversaries, as well as preparations for a wedding. The author carefully outlines the codes each member of a family must uphold through both good and bad times. More importantly, he never lectures his readers, nor chooses sides, but instead gently outlines the cultural clashes between the Muslim and Western worlds as Ramzi and Megan fall in love and marry.
The truly striking aspect of Voice of Conscience is how a horrible event (the murder of his family) and the desire for revenge gradually destroy Ramzi’s life. The last 50 pages will have the reader clutching the book and urging the lead character to consider the ramifications of his actions. This is not a book you will want to put down as you close in on the last few chapters.
Quill says: Voice of Conscience is a riveting tale of life, love, and revenge.
For more information on Voice of Conscience, please visit the author's website at: Behcet Kaya.com
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