Reading and Writing

Not your typical police procedural…

This review is long overdue, as I read the book months ago. I also should disclose that I read it mainly because, although I love mysteries, I had met Prakash Dighé through the Dallas, TX writing community and found him to be a very kind man who had lived an interesting life. I wanted to see how that would translate into his story.

Cover image of the novel. An orange sunset on the Savannah silhouetting an elephant's head.
Click on book image to go to Amazon to read publisher’s description, other reviews, and purchase your copy.

I originally gave this novel 3-stars, but as the weeks and months went by after reading it, my mind kept returning to the characters and the setting, and I realized that this debut novel had accomplished more than I first thought. I have since edited my rating to 4-stars.

The book, true to the promotional information, is easy to read. At first I mistook that for a simple story. It is not. Mr Dighé speaks five languages, and wrote this as a non-native speaker for an international audience. And he did a brilliant job of it.

The story is set in Kenya. It includes the urban capital with a vast variety of characters from local police, thugs, and politicians to British expats and international professionals. The author also does a fabulous job at describing the land and animals through characters who act as tour guides for visiting friends or investigators. The story requires a large cast, so only a few characters seemed fully developed. However, thinking back critically, all characters were essential to the story’s plot, and were used to give a fascinating glimpse into the people, culture, and complexities of Kenya.

I definitely recommend this book. I add the caveat to remember that although the author is now a Texas Writer (and we are glad to have him!), this story is written by a man who has lived in many countries and cultures, and rather than writing a mainstream American police procedural, has incorporated the techniques from many storytelling traditions. It took me a bit longer than usual to get hooked and get into the rhythm of the narrative, but my patience and persistence was rewarded.

2 thoughts on “Not your typical police procedural…”

  1. I liked Prakash’s book as well, although not having had the opportunity to read it yet, I am only familiar with it through the hard work that he put into it and shared with us during critique groups sessions. You can clearly hear his voice and life experiences sing through the pages.

    1. Exactly! The book really is good, but it did take a bit to get hooked. I hope other readers will stay with it long enough to get comfortable with the voice and rhythm of the story.

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