Top critical review
An enjoyable read and a refreshing change from regional British sleuths or Nordic noir
on 5 February 2015
Mollel is a Nairobi policeman, ex CID but now busted down to Traffic. He’s a Maasai and when a Maasai girl’s mutilated body is found in Uhuru Park his insider knowledge gets him in on the case.
The trail seems to lead to some high profile figures, and as this is December 2007 with a presidential election just days away, politics threatens to interfere with his pursuit of the murderer. And with politics in Kenya a violent sectarian business, his chief of police wants his men keeping order at the polls not stirring up more trouble.
Against the background of mounting tribal tension (mainly Kikuyu against Luo with the Maasai one of several minority players) Mollel ignores orders to desist and doggedly follows the evidence, on the way uncovering lies and corruption that seem endemic in the Kenyan capital. And of course, being a cop, he has his personal problems, struggling to come to terms with the recent death of his wife and taking on sole responsibility for a young son he can’t connect with emotionally.
The story is fast paced, action-packed and full of twists and turns, uncertain to the end. The setting feels authentic and Crompton slips in some insights into post-colonial East Africa and the Kenyan national psyche, where harmonious personal relations can all too easily be swept aside by tribal affiliations and mutual suspicion based on past misdeeds.
[See my weekly reviews each Friday on abibliodyssey.blogspot.com]