Living on the Edge in the Sahara

by Keith Costelloe

Book Cover: Drawn Into Danger
ISBN: 978-1039120365
ISBN: 978-1039120365
ISBN: 978-1039120365
ISBN: 978-1039120365

Drawn into Danger. A counter espionage story. Dave is 24 when he gets his first job teaching English in Algeria in 1978. He’s not sure what to expect, but he knows he wants to escape the boredom of an ‘ordinary’ job in the UK. Travel calls to him. He longs to explore different cultures and have new experiences, so he can forget his previous life and friends. When he arrives in Algeria, he soon realizes he’s in a completely different world. He starts to feel that Algeria might allow him to explore his bisexuality further. However, as he’s drawn into the local events, they begin to control him. In helping a friend get revenge, he is drawn into a secret police operation with unimagined consequences. Is revenge really worth it? Will he lose his freedom because he chooses to do the right thing?

Publisher: Friesen Press

Hugh is an English eccentric, rather like a remnant from the days of Empire, although he’d hate me to say that, and of course, the British never occupied Algeria. He’s a small, thin, well-dressed man in his mid-forties. I first encountered him in the dusty streets of the old town of Bou Saâda, and upon discovering I was English, he immediately invited me to his house.

“Do come for tea.”


We walked to his place in the old quarter. Here, the streets are dried mud and sand and flow down toward the Oued Maïtar: the dry river valley, channelling floodwater to the not-so-distant desert sands. A few mopeds wove past, ridden by devil-may-care youths, their bikes belching and rattling. Older men padded quietly back from the market carrying blue plastic bags with carrot leaves or tomatoes bulging out and occasionally an upside-down squawking chicken. The area had character, and it was, of course, cheaper than the newer areas near the central market. There, heavily laden Peugeot 404 pickups maneuvered their way past donkey carts and pedestrians, blasting at everything in their path.

The houses in the old quarter were mostly stone with white-painted plaster peeling off the walls. They were not kept up and neat like middle-class British houses, but they were impressive. Many of them had a large, arched stone entrance with a heavy, fitted wooden door, and inset in this, like a church door, a smaller door that opened inwards.

Reviews:Naomi Oliver for Peace Arch News on wrote:

"When it comes to novels, not all thrillers are created equal. Some are simply pot boiler exercises in tension, page turning in a breathless, headless rush from one fantastic event to the next. But every now and then another emerges that captivates because the observation of the scene, incident, and character is true and imbued with a clear authority of authenticity. The stunning debut novel by white rock author Keith Costelloe put in jeopardy (Friesen Press, 2022) definitely belongs to the latter camp."

Bertin Drizller for The Book Commentary on wrote:

"Drawn into Danger: Living on the Edge in the Sahara by Keith Costelloe is a tale of surviving in very austere and dangerous conditions in a foreign country. Twenty-four-year-old Dave accepts his first job as an English teacher in Algeria. That is 1978. He is just so happy to leave the UK and its doldrums behind. Going to Algeria offers the prospects of a new start, adventure, and an encounter with new cultures. But Algeria is not what he has imagined it to be. Everything changes for the worst when he helps a friend get revenge and finds himself at the center of a secret police operation. Can he face the consequences? Keith Costelloe's novel is a fictional story that reflects some of what he saw and experienced in Algeria, a compelling tale with an elaborately written protagonist and a setting that cleverly captures the pulse and culture of this desert country. Dave is a complex protagonist, a character who is out to explore his bisexuality. For him, Algeria takes the form of a character in its own right in this spellbinding tale — fun, stimulating, dangerous, and the awakening of more intense sexuality. The author's dazzling prose is enriched by lively dialogues and captivating imagery. It is easy for readers to imagine the bright, warm, and invigorating sun, Sue sitting at a café table, laughing and talking to a young French man, and people riding horses on the beach. Themes of innocence and sexuality, crime and freedom, and friendship and solitude are recurrent in this tale. Drawn into Danger is a fun, rollicking ride for readers who love adventure. "

About the Author

I’ve lived and worked in North Africa, South East Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and North America, eventually settling in White Rock, Canada. I’m an active member of several writing groups and the CAA and FBCW, all of which have inspired me to continue writing. My first book, Drawn into Danger, is set in Algeria and reflects my time spent there. It is a fictional thriller, but the places are real. My second book, a young adult story is set in Malaysia, another country where we lived and worked. It has a teen protagonist who befriends a group of Malaysian boys, and they become involved in trying to rescue a girl that has been kidnapped. I’m presently writing a vampire story set in BC.