Nairobi Heat: A Review
I’m going to try as much as possible not to spoil this amazing book for anyone, however, please be warned that I may mention a few facts about the book. This is a crime story of an African American detective who is investigating the murder of a young white lady, whose caucus was found at the door step of an African Professor (Joshua) with an exciting genocide history.
If there is one compliment I can give the writer of this book, it’s going to be his hold on expression. After reading this book, all I wanted to do is drop everything in front of me, walk to the airport and buy a plane ticket to Nairobi. The picture the book paints is very thrilling and one most people would like to explore.
Just like every author that writes about Africa, the author of this book sheds some light on key issues such as racism, prejudice, culture, wrong perceptions and diversity. However, unlike every author, he also hits on how different an African American was from an African. The general misconception that people would relate better because of the colour of their skin was one myth this book dealt with. At the beginning of the book, Ishmael, the detective, thought he would relate better with the African professor and the Kenyans he met in Nairobi. He was shocked to see that most of what he knew to be true wasn’t. This is a perfect edge I find that this book has. On another note, this book stands to reveal political and social issues that face the black man in society. Detective Ishmael who is the narrator in the book, talks about the dangers a black man faces in the United States of America.
However, just like many writers, the author of this book wasn’t too conving based on the fact that a lot of loopholes exist in the book. I tell my friends that the only reason loopholes exist like this is because fiction writing isn’t as easy as it seems and without proper research, it can be very chaotic.
First, the probability of a small town police department sending its detective all the way to Africa on a very shady phone call is unrealistic. I get that the author wanted to keep the book light, but it wouldn’t take a whole chapter to come up with a better reason the police department could send its detective to another continent for an ongoing, priority case. Second, it was hard to connect to the lead character as an African American. The waverly feeling would have the reader constantly forgetting that he isn’t actually from Nairobi. Third, the author fails to tell us which time this book is placed in. Since he referred to Joshua’s contributions in the Rwandan genocide, we are left to determine that this is a time somewhat in the last 20 years. However, the picture he paints of the KKK’s activities in the USA did not tally with the era. Also, references to minor details like fax machines, makes me think the story was dated before the Rwandan genocide ever took place. To effectively hold your readers, an image must be successfully created. If an author fails to present the time of the image, it becomes distorted. This was a major issue for me in this book.
Like I said before, fiction writing is as hard as it gets, because the author not only has to be creative but also specific and coherent. Notwithstanding, this was an incredible book to read and it really did hold my attention because it touched very valid social issues. It serves as a portal to knowing a little about Nairobi and its people. If you’re having a free weekend with little or nothing to do, this is a little book that would do justice to your time.