When Bruce Medway, now headquartered in Benin, is approached by a client about a Nigerian scam, he is initially skeptical. When that client turns up murdered, Medway begins his quest for the killer, particularly after the victim's daughter comes to Benin looking for revenge. Medway's hunt for the killer leads him into neighboring Nigeria and its corrupt system, and a plot to sting a presidential candidate.
"Blood is Dirt" is the third book in Robert Wilson's Bruce Medway series, and the second I've read. Both have the same pluses. "Blood is Dirt" features some excellent dialogue, real suspense, and a wonderfully drawn setting. Despite being written in 1997, it is also quite timely, given that Nigeria is a continuing trouble spot for the world. As one character notes, Nigeria shouldn't be dysfunctional, and yet it is, because certain people within and without are profiting from its failure as a state.
However, I was frustrated to find many of the same minuses as his previous book. Medway is a more grounded and likable character now that his girlfriend, Heike, has returned to him. But he remains a little more distant than he ought to be for the reader to fully appreciate. He's decent enough, but the reader never quite connects with him, which is a bad thing for a mystery/suspense novel.
Moreover, the plot is far more convoluted than it needs to be, as Medway pursuit of a scam artist leads to the Italian Mafia, expatriate businessmen, and corrupt Nigerian politicos. Consequently, a lot of incidents occur that rarely seem relevant at the time, and even then, only half really matter in the long run. While a good mystery is layered, Wilson frequently spackles on plot-lines like dense concrete, some of which serve no purpose other than to obfuscate. The end result is to leave the reader rather indifferent to as to who the killer is and what their motives are. Indeed, it's quite possible you'll forget everything as soon as you close the book.
The saving grace of this series for me has been its terrific and unusual setting. I have the last volume of the series, and I will read it. But I am happy I bought these books from the bargain shelf.