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This is a debut book from author Nick Brownlee, a crime thriller set in Mombasa, Kenya. Jake Moore is an ex - policeman from London who headed to Kenya for a quieter life and now runs a game fishing business with his partner Harry. Daniel Jouma is the only policeman in Mombasa who isn't taking bribes and turning a blind eye to the criminals who run the streets.
The beginning of the novel sets the scene for perhaps Jouma's biggest challenges as a policeman to date - a fishing boat skipper has been murdered and a street criminal is washed up after a storm. Jouma senses there is more behind this than meets the eye and is determined to solve the murders as much as the other policeman from neighbouring areas are determined to cover it up. Jouma enlists the help of Moore and the two soon discover a bigger crime ring than they ever imagined. As they get more involved in the story, it is soon apparent that there are some big business crime lords involved - not just in Africa but across the globe who mean serious business and do not want the two men to get in the way...
My Thoughts - The Good
The beginning of the book opens to the street thief gutting the body of the white fishing boat skipper and immediately, you are drawn in to the story and the people behind it. Not only this, I was immediately intrigued as the person behind the killing was only referred to as "The Boss Man". The story set, I was looking forward to a bit of mystery and intrigue regarding who might be involved in the murder of this man.
The character of Jake Moore was one I warmed to immediately. He is one of those characters whom you know what to expect from - a good person, intelligent, honest and brave so he was already perfectly set up as the "hero" and the crime solver. The coupling with the African policeman Jouma added an extra something - again the character of Daniel Jouma was easy to warm to particularly when the other less honest policeman are introduced to the story.
I also loved the backdrop of the run down gangster lifestyle of those living in Mombasa. Brownlee's descriptions of the dirt and rat infested streets is vivid and his descriptions of Mombasa's criminal life is superb. I particularly liked the portrayal of the criminals themselves - from the poor boys on the streets who have made a life for themselves through criminal activities to the men who appear to be upstanding members of society.
Brownlee portrays the perfect setting for this big crime ring - showing the side of Kenya that is involved with drugs, guns, violence, crime lords, prostitution and sex trafficking.
The story is fast paced - it moves along quickly and new pieces of the story are revealed quickly. This book was incredibly easy to read, and for the most part enjoyable too. In fact, I bought this yesterday morning and it has taken me a day to get through it.
As I mentioned, the plot and the pieces of the story develop quickly. Although this was enjoyable, there was really nothing new in this story that you wouldn't find in another crime thriller. I would also have liked for there to be a bit more mystery to the story. With each chapter, it felt like another new character was exposed as being involved with the various deaths that kept happening. By the middle of the book, there was no mystery left for the reader - it was more a case of reading to see how Jake Moore and Daniel Jouma would find out and stop the criminals involved. So as much as I enjoyed it to the end, I would hardly describe it as edge of your seat crime book like some I've read.
What sets this crime book apart from others is the backdrop of a corrupted town where the criminals rule and there are very few good men to keep them in check. Nick Brownlee really does portray this brilliantly. The story is fast paced and enjoyable and the character descriptions I simply loved for their good and bad traits. It is however, a pretty bog standard crime book which lacked a little something to really make me give it an excellent rating. It is because I have read better books in this genre and with regards to the story, there was nothing truly exciting in it once the author reveals its secrets to his readers. However, I enjoyed it overall, and although I certainly wouldn't urge people to run out and buy it instantly as there are better books out there that would really have you on the edge of your seat. Precisely what you need from this genre in my opinion!