#CBR6 Review #95: Black Star Nairobi by Mukoma wa Ngugi

Last year, I reviewed Nairobi Heat for CBR5. I remember liking it, with some caveats, and I had mentioned those. Ngugi has greatly improved with his second novel, and I really hope that he continues this series.

Detective Ishmael has decided to stay in Kenya and make a life for himself. He has fallen in love with refugee Muddy, and is a partner to the engimatic O. Together, their detective business is struggling to break even, until a man shows up dead in a nearby forest. Their investigation leads them to international corruption linked to the political unrest that is threatening to unseat the tenuous peace in Kenya. Their lives are in danger constantly, and solving the mystery will endanger everything that they hold dear. It’s a fast-paced international thriller with a lot of twists.

If you like crime fiction, I highly recommend this novel. It’s interesting and unusual, and it opens a window into a world that is highly nebulous to most of us. Further, it takes place in 2007-2008, when Barack Obama is conducting his presidential campaign, another interesting political layer into the story. I never thought too much about how Kenyans must have perceived Obama’s cultural heritage, and this novel provides some insight.

I thought that Ngugi has greatly improved his writing style and quickened the pace of his writing. He more fully embodies the voices of his characters and makes them seem more believable. I really hope he writes more in this series–I would definitely read them all!


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