My rating: 2 of 5 stars
this was a fairly unpleasant book.
here’s the thing: i feel like it was not-so-subtly racist, but there’s nothing obviously racist. the plot concerns events in Britain and Uganda–the murderee is a black woman, we have a history of child soldiers and the unspeakable Joseph Kony, and our protag once had a very, very bad experience in Uganda. nowhere is there any use of common black stereotypes or stupid, prejudiced expressions.
but everything surrounding the black people in this book is dark. full of smells. lots of references to animals (not equating with animals, just metaphors). the way black people act is incomprehensible, foreign, scary. the parts of London in which they live is simply not London.
pile on enough of these sorts of things, and if one cannot find it outright racist, one certainly learns that black people are Other.
anyway our protag, Carrigan, is uninteresting, and his sidekick Miller is very unaccountably protective of him. he doesn’t seem to have any of the qualities that engender protectiveness.
finally, SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!! as if you’re gonna read this book after i’ve crapped on it so…
we find out at the end that young Carrigan’s two friends committed a horrible crime in Uganda. at the insistence of some proto-LRA soldiers, they shot two women aid workers. here’s the thing: the LRA guys, after a day or two of mild torture, put a gun in friend 1’s hand and tell him to shoot an aid worker or friend 2 gets whacked. terrible situation, no? so friend 1 shoots the woman and then himself. after enjoying an eViL laugh, LRA guys tell friend 2 he gets the same deal: shoot a woman, or young Carrigan dies. friend 2 just shoots a woman, doesn’t kill himself.
so my question is: if friend 1 had it in mind to off himself, why’d he kill the woman first? and in friend 2’s case, he makes a pious note that the woman he shot, just as he aimed the gun at her, smiled forgivingly at him.
so there’s two dead women who didn’t have to be dead. are women just like, what, disposable chopsticks in this world? wtf?
ya, this book annoyed me. i won’t be reading the series.