The gripping second novel in Richard Crompton's highly acclaimed, sharply plotted Mollel series - 'a compulsive whodunnit set in Kenya' Ian Rankin[Crompton] has done something near-miraculous and made the figure of the incorruptible loner-detective fresh again.Can Richard Crompton repeat the excellence of last year's The Honey Guide
, his first novel? Few would have considered a Masai warrior turned Kenyan detective as a hugely attractive crime fiction hero. But in Hell's Gate
Crompton does it again... Mollel tackles a variety of crimes, including corruption and murder, with a beguiling blend of moroseness, honesty, confusion and astute wisdomHell's Gate is the second of [Crompton's] novels set in Kenya, and is every bit as good as The Honey Guide... Crompton writes with ease about traditional customs and the impact on Kenya of globalisation, creating a vivid portrait of a country struggling to come to terms with modernityRichard Crompton's second novel is a clever and frequently thrilling read... If Nordic noir is joined by its African equivalent at the top of the bestseller charts it may well be due to the reading public discovering Richard Crompton to be one of the most gifted crime writers of his generation.Crompton very much delivers on the promise of his debut, The Honey Guide. This is an excellent police procedural which satisfies everything demanded of the genre... There are plenty of plot twists, and in Mollel we have a compelling protagonist... But what really elevates the book is Crompton's experience as a journalist. He is able to bring depth to the story by examining the difference between the law and justice, not just in everyday Kenyan life, but in international politics and in the way that globalism has not just brought wealth to the poorer countries but also suffering. In short, Hell's Gate is both entertaining and thought-provoking.The struggle between the two sides of [Mollel's] nature makes him an interesting and sympathetic protagonist... The underlying conflicts at work in Kenyan society also become explicit through Mollel's thinking. The tribal divide is still a powerful factor - the Maasai, a tribe whose economy and life is based around their cattle; the Kikuyu, who have adapted better to the influx of Western technology and lifestyle; and the wandering Samburu, amongst others. Add to this the influence of a much richer West, and now the Chinese too, and it is easy to see the temptations and pressures which undermine stability. The picture of Africa is not that of Alexander McCall Smith, and the lack of fairness and justice is a consistently appalling background. Mollel's humanity and touches of humour here and there do, however, lift the mood.
Richard Crompton is an ex-BBC journalist who moved to East Africa several years ago with his wife, a human rights lawyer who worked on the Rwanda genocide trials. Richard won the DAILY TELEGRAPH SHORT STORY AWARD in 2010.
THE HONEY GUIDE received great reviews across the board and has been championed by Ian Rankin.THE HONEY GUIDE is a Waterstones Book Club choice.First there was tartan noir, then came the Scandinavian crime wave, now Richard Crompton's Nairobi-based Mollel offers crime fans the next must-read sleuth and location.
Mollel is a truly unforgettable hero and this series has great cross-over potential.
It must have been someone's idea of a joke. Too many offended egos back at headquarters, too many influential people unhappy with him in Nairobi. And yet, with his record, almost impossible to dismiss. So where had they sent Mollel? Straight to Hell.
When Mollel, a former Maasai warrior turned detective, ends up in a small, fly-blown town on the edge of a national park, it looks as if his career has taken a nose-dive. His colleagues are a close-knit group and they have not taken kindly to a stranger in their midst. Mollel suspects they are guilty of the extortion and bribery that plague the force, but when the body of a flower worker turns up in the local lake, he wonders if they might be involved in something more disturbing... For all is not as it seems in Hell's Gate. Amid rumours of a local death squad, disappearances and blackmail, Mollel is forced not only to confront his Maasai heritage, but also to ask himself where justice truly lies. In upholding the law, is he doing what is right?