Thursday, 20 December 2018

When Trouble Sleeps by Leye Adenle

Reviewer: Catriona Troth

What We Thought:
Two years ago, when I interviewed Leye Adenle for Words with Jam, I was privileged to read an early draft of the opening scene of When Trouble Sleeps. He’s kept me waiting a long time to find out what happened next, but it was worth the wait!

For this second thriller, Adenle takes us back to Lagos, this time with Amaka taking centre stage as the main point of view character.

Amaka is the founder of Street Samaritans, an organisation that seeks to protect Lagos’s many sex workers. And she is on the trail of the men who runs The Harem, a secret brothel in the depths of the countryside that caters to the very worst tastes of the rich and powerful.

When, following a bizarre plane crash, one of these men unexpectedly becomes a candidate for governor of Lagos, Amaka’s quest becomes not just about preventing the sexual exploitation of young women, but about challenging corruption at the very heart of Nigerian politics.

And of course, Amaka is clever enough to fool them all. If she can only live long enough.

Adenle’s technique of using multiple points of view gives his writing a filmic quality. (And these are books that are surely crying out for adaptation.) Amaka’s Lagos is as brutal and unforgiving as The Wire’s Baltimore. But Adenle gives us a textured and multi-layered picture of Nigerian life, from the market stall holders to the mega-rich, from the police officers honouring one of their own, to the ruthless discarding of political failure. His compassion and respect for the sex workers of Lagos, so clear in Easy Motion Tourist, still shines through here.

This is a tale of one remarkable woman taking on Nigeria’s own House of Cards. If you haven’t yet sampled crime fiction from Africa, this is a great place to start.

You’ll Enjoy This If You Loved: Easy Motion Tourist by Leye Adenle, The Golden Scales by Parker Bilal, Girl Zero by AA Dhand

Avoid If You Dislike: Stories that focus on sexual exploitation

Perfect Accompaniment: Pounded yam and a bottle of Guinness

Genre: Crime Fiction

Available on Amazon

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