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Posted June 15, 2012
Dashiell Hammett goes to West Africa
I bought this mystery in that Michael Stanley (two authors who together write under a single pen name) have it on their list of the ten best mysteries set in Africa. It is very much a hard boiled detective novel. That is not my favorite gendre, but I tried to appreciate it for what it is. (It has garnered excellent reviews as a novel in this gendre.)
If you want a mystery that captures a strong sense a place (although a rather dark, uninviting place), this novel fits. One is left with a feel for life in West Africa (although very much the seemy side of West Africa).
The strength of this mystery novel is also its greatest weakness (and this is why I gave it four as opposed to five stars). The descriptions of locations, characters, etc. are extensive and pinpoint. At times, however, the length of the descriptive passages (and the many interesting analogies) begin to wear on you. You feel as if each time the author introduces a new character (or whatever), Wilson has put together a decriptive theme essay for a writing class. While these descriptions are often very interesting in their own right, at times you wish that the story would just move on a bit faster instead of entering into another stoppage.
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