Tackling crime in Kenya-based thriller

2009-02-25 00:00

“Bait will have you hooked.”

So says the blurb on the cover of the book. That’s a bit cheesy, I thought. But I swallowed my words hook, line and sinker, when I found it was a rollicking good read after all.

Pure entertainment, the book quickly casts its hook with a casual flick, piquing the reader’s interest with a good and bloody murder or two in the opening chapters. Blood and guts and tantalising mystery abound, and yes, the bait has been bit.

Nick Brownlee’s creation of the detective — Daniel Jouma — whose unhappy task it is to unravel the mysteries of who is shafting whom and why, evokes memories of Precious Ramotswe of Alexander McCall Smith’s The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency in his simple and unwavering approach to morality.

Jouma is assisted by British ex-flying squad policeman, Jake Moore, a now lonely and jaded man of the sea, who has copped out of his life on the Old Bill, to take tourists deep sea fishing.

The angle is that the arch villain, a racist South African called Tugs Viljoen (surprise surprise, yawn), is dealing in dodgy goods through a network involving the dregs of Kenyan humanity. But what are these goods, and who is behind the trade which stretches over African shores to the far reaches of the globe? You read it and find out.

Bait gallops along at an enjoyable rate of knots and quick readers will finish it in no time at all.

Stephanie Saville

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