|Devil-Devil by Graeme Kent|
|Reviewer: Robert James|
|Summary: An intriguing mystery tied up in the superb setting of the Solomon Islands in 1960, with the engaging central character of Sergeant Ben Kella who is caught between his two jobs as a policeman and an aofia or peacemaker, this is highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 320||Date: June 2011|
|Publisher: Robinson Publishing|
|External links: Author's website|
In the Solomon Islands in 1960, Sergeant Ben Kella stands out as an oddity in many ways. Trained since childhood as an aofia, the traditional peacemaker of the islands, he was mission educated and sent away and appears to belong completely to neither the modern age nor the old customs. Finding his place in the world, though, will have to wait – because there's a missing anthropologist to find, a rebellious nun to protect, and a murder to solve. Oh, and a magic man has just cursed him. All in a day's work…
Well, this stands out as probably the most unique of the many crime novels I've read over the last few years! Kella is a fantastic central character – he's a maverick with problems in his past which have led his superiors to order him to stay away from the island, but that's about the only part of him which fits in with expectations of a central character in a police procedural. Add in a beautifully well developed setting of the Soloman Islands in the run up to independence and you have a fantastic crime novel here. Also particularly impressive is the way author G W Kent explains just enough of the islands' culture and customs as we go along for the reader to understand what's happening without overwhelming us with too much information.
There's also a wonderful supporting cast, including the nun Sister Conchita, other policemen, and various islanders and foreigners, all of whom may have their own agendas which Kella needs to try and get to the bottom of. It's billed as being a Sister Conchita and Sergeant Kella mystery which suggests this is just the first in a series of novels about the duo – I hope so! While Conchita didn't feature as heavily as that would imply she's a fun character and there was an interesting dynamic between the pair of them as they worked together. I'd love to see another story – or even better, several – featuring this duo and have no hesitation in saying this is a huge recommendation for crime fans, especially if you're looking for something a little different.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
Further reading suggestion: For another thriller set in a vividly described location try Burn by Nick Brownlee, which sees Inspector Jouma and Jake Moore investigating in Mombasa.
You can read more book reviews or buy Devil-Devil by Graeme Kent at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Devil-Devil by Graeme Kent at Amazon.com.
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