Cry Of The Justice Bird Paperback – 1 Jun 2007
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From the Publisher
This is a thrilling first novel from an author who has won
acclaim as a short-story teller, having won both the Bridport International
Short Story Competition and the Royal Society of Literature's VS Pritchett
Prize, and it shows in the pace, the tight plot and the sheer exuberance of
his writing. Jon knows his subject, Africa at it most beautiful and most
carnally violent, and he describes a galaxy of vivid characters with
insight and compassion. I hope you'll find much to savour in his book but
be warned: this is no mindless romp. The author spares nothing in
describing the excesses of a truly African civil war yet I bet you'll find
much to make you laugh.
If Wilbur Smith is the proud old lion of African thriller-writing, perhaps
he needs to watch this new challenge.
From the Back Cover
Boromundi, a small African state, ravaged by civil war...
Rebecca Wise and Annabel Mbanga, two young women on an outing, are dragged
from their minibus into the roadside mud, raped, and horribly mutilated.
Devastated by the death of the girl he loves but unaware of the crime
behind it, Armstrong McKay flies out to bring Rebecca's body home. Amid the
dancing, drink and catharsis of Rebecca's wake, he meets Temba Mbanga,
Annabel's husband, who reveals the brutal truth.
Faced with a weak government and the severed stump of the Boromundian legal
system, the two men wrestle with a stark choice: turn aside as the
authorities wash their hands of murder, or mete out justice themselves.
In the darkness of the early morning rain, surrounded by the grating cry of
Kisasi the Justice Bird, they make their decision: to track down the
murderers one by one - and execute them.
Only then will the Justice Bird be silent...
Top customer reviews
This is a fast moving story set in Africa, which involves the reader from the very first page. It is eminently readable and one is loathe to put it down once one has started to read. The tale is on the lines of a Wilbur Smith book and, like so many of his, reflects a sound knowledge of the African environment.
Whilst a great deal of the narration is harsh and brutal, there is much to help the reader to understand the terrible situation in which the hero finds himself and the way in which he becomes embroiled in the politics and conflict of an emerging African stste, while he seeks to revenge the killing of his girlfriend. For those who have clear memories of films made some twenty or so years ago, the overall impression they might be left with is that of a Michael Caine type voice-over as the hero narrates the tale in the first person. For all the hideous and graphically described actions which Armstrong McKay has to undertake in his search for justice, we are forced to understand his motives and to come to a full understanding of his motives, a total sympathy with his position, and an appreciation of the finer parts of his character.
It should also be mentioned that one of the greatest strengths of the author is his ability to portray graphically the various African landscapes and the moods and threats of the geography of the regions through which the action travels.
A first-rate read, which I can recommend to others!
Two things stood out about this novel. One was that the beginning was absolutely fantastic- gripping, it enthralled you in the excitement which was to be Armstrong and Temba's decision to seek revenge upon the murderers. It was impossible to put down: you wanted to know more about what happened, more about what they were going to do...
The second thing was that Mr. Haylett created our "hero" Armstrong, who narrates the novel, but actually, the real hero in my opinion is not him at all. Armstrong can be seen as an Essex lad in well over his head following the wiser actions of Temba who leads him practically the whole way through. Although in the narration Armstrong tries to describe himself as the hero, the book is great in that the reader can have their own perception, and yet the novel still remains as enthralling a read. It is unique, unlike any other book I have ever read.
This is a thriller with value added. I hope to see new works from Jon Haylett available soon.
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