#CBR5 Review #49: Nairobi Heat by Mukoma wa Ngugi

I’ve been on vacation this week, so there hasn’t been a lot of time to read. Nevertheless, I was able to take in something a little bit out of my usual range. My MA Thesis mentor knows the author of Nairobi Heat, and recommended the sequel, Black Nairobi, on his Facebook page.

Detective Ishmael is an African-American living in Madison, Wisconsin who has never considered any roots outside his home. But then, a strange case brings him back to Nairobi, Kenya, and to consider the Rwandan genocide that is still echoing around him. When a young white woman shows up dead on a famous humanitarian’s doorstep, he travels to Nairobi to find her killer. Unintentionally, he stumbles upon the corrupt behavior behind the genocides, and leads to chilling truths embedded in the best (and worst) of people.

I was initially very interested in the setup and plot development, but my patience and willing suspense of disbelief waned a little bit with the ability of an American detective to kill bad guys with ease. Ishmael is an interesting character, however, and I’m curious to see how he develops if a theoretical series progresses. The end of Nairobi Heat sets up a series of novels, which I think could be quite good and a departure from your run-of-the-mill crime mystery.

One minor quibble: I could tell that the author was not educated in the American system, based on certain syntactical and spelling choices. That’s not a negative issue, but as a native Milwaukeean, I can guarantee that Wisconsinites do not wear “pyjamas.” Perhaps that small disconnect prevented me from being able to “get into” the character’s voice, since I didn’t really buy the setting from the narrator’s point-of-view.

Otherwise, I am definitely planning to read the sequel, and I was glad for something new to read.

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One response to “#CBR5 Review #49: Nairobi Heat by Mukoma wa Ngugi

  1. Pingback: bonnie’s #CBR5 Review #49: Nairobi Heat by Mukoma wa Ngugi | Cannonball Read V

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