Nairobi Heat

Nairobi Heat

3.6 9
by Mukoma wa Ngugi
     
 

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A cop from Wisconsin pursues a killer through the terrifying slums of Nairobi and the memories of genocide

IN MADISON, WISCONSIN, it’s a big deal when African peace activist Joshua Hakizimana—who saved hundreds of people from the Rwandan genocide—accepts a position at the university to teach about “genocide and testimony.See more details below

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Overview

A cop from Wisconsin pursues a killer through the terrifying slums of Nairobi and the memories of genocide

IN MADISON, WISCONSIN, it’s a big deal when African peace activist Joshua Hakizimana—who saved hundreds of people from the Rwandan genocide—accepts a position at the university to teach about “genocide and testimony.” Then a young woman is found murdered on his doorstep.

Local police Detective Ishmael—an African-American in an “extremely white” town—suspects the crime is racially motivated; the Ku Klux Klan still holds rallies there, after all. But then he gets a mysterious phone call: “If you want the truth, you must go to its source. The truth is in the past. Come to Nairobi.”

It’s the beginning of a journey that will take him to a place still vibrating from the genocide that happened around its borders, where violence is a part of everyday life, where big-oil money rules and where the local cops shoot first and ask questions later—a place, in short, where knowing the truth about history can get you killed.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The discovery of the body of an attractive young blonde woman on the Madison, Wis., doorstep of Joshua Hakizimana, popularly known as the "black Schindler" for his courageous life-saving efforts during the Rwandan genocide, propels Ngugi's improbable first novel. When the high-profile police inquiry stalls without an ID of the victim, who was strangled, African-American detective Ishmael flies to Nairobi in response to an anonymous caller who tells him the truth behind the killing lies there. At the airport, Ishmael is met by his Kenyan counterpart, David Odhiambo, and soon the two are struggling to survive multiple gun battles. Ngugi (Hurling Words at Consciousness, a poetry collection), who was born in the U.S. but raised in Kenya, provides an engaging insider's view of the cultural divide between Americans and Africans, but some gaps in logic—such as no one in the U.S. recognizing the murder victim—may bother mystery fans. (Sept.)
Library Journal
This compact debut novel is set on a sprawling stage from East Africa to Wisconsin—and the issues it raises are just as large. Detective Ishmael, an African-born, American-raised black man, is investigating the death of a white woman found on the doorstep of an African professor—a noted activist who had rescued victims of the Rwandan genocide—in a very white suburb of Madison. A mysterious phone call sends Ishmael to Africa in search of the truth behind the professor's humanitarian agency and Ishmael's own ambivalence toward Africa. The story unfolds with minimal characterization but also offers scintillating, atmospheric descriptions of Kenya and sharp insights into the politics of postgenocide Rwanda. The author is a prize-winning poet (Hurling Words at Consciousness), essayist on African politics, and son of noted African writer Ngugi wa Thiong'o. Like his protagonist, Ngugi was born in Kenya and grew up in the United States. VERDICT This will appeal to fans of thrillers set in exotic locations and readers interested in exploring the experience of African/African American men in society as recounted in the works of Walter Mosley and other authors. [Highlighted in M.M. Adjarian's mystery preview, "Dispatches from the Edge," LJ 4/15/11.—Ed.]—David Clendinning, West Virginia State Univ. Lib., Institute

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781612190075
Publisher:
Melville House Publishing
Publication date:
09/13/2011
Series:
Melville International Crime
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
612,807
File size:
2 MB

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