HELL'S GATE

Written by Richard Compton

Review written by Adam Colclough

Adam Colclough lives and works in the West Midlands, he writes regularly for a number of websites, one day he will get round to writing a book for someone else to review.


HELL'S GATE
Orion
RRP: £12.99
Released: May 29th, 2014
Hbk

In a mean little town on the outskirts of Kenya’s Hell’s Gate national park, the sort of place the tourist trail avoids, the body of a flower-worker is found floating in a the lake attached to a luxury hotel. Mollel, a former Maasai warrior turned police officer despatched from Nairobi in disgrace sees her death as more than an accident.

 His subsequent investigation pits him against his unhelpful colleagues and the big business interests muscling in on Africa’s untapped resources. He must also wrestle with his own demons regarding his conflicted identity and troubled past.

 Richard Crompton’s second novel is a clever and frequently thrilling read, one that takes the established trope of the cop in a strange town surrounded by colleagues who may or may not be corrupt into new territory.

 He writes with the fluency of an expert about an Africa that is vastly different from the simplified images of beauty or tragedy often served up by the media. Crompton instead presents Kenya, and the wider continent as a place if almost unfathomable complexity, where ancient tribal rivalries and modern day corruption coexist uneasily with the potential for violence never far away.

 Mollel is a fully rounded character, a man at odds not just with his colleagues but also with his own identity, caught forever between his Maasai heritage and the demands of modern life. Crompton places him at the heart of a novel that challenges the preconceptions of its readers and refuses to provide the neat resolution they might expect.

 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.

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