Book Review: Black Star Nairobi by Mukoma wa Ngugi

This is Mukoma wa Ngugi’s second book and the sequel to his first book, Nairobi Heat. I read Nairobi Heat last year and really enjoyed it. So, I was very excited to read Black Star Nairobi. I started this book with great expectations and let me tell you, it didn’t disappoint. I was engaged and on the edge from beginning to end. This book was so well written, and the characters (already well established in the first book) were developed enough to refresh the memory of those who read book one and also to help those reading for the first time to understand what exactly is going on.

Just like the first book, this second one is about two best friend detectives who are very good at putting away the bad guys. Ishmael relocated to Nairobi after solving his first case with the help of O and both started their own crime fighting agency. They get cases that the police department have no time or resources to invest in. They consider these cases crumbs and are barely making enough to survive until they discovered a dead body in the forest (in the middle of nowhere). They put on their detective hats and went straight to work.

This fictional action is set in 2007 at a time when Kenya and the United States are undergoing major political changes and shake ups. Senator Barack Obama has just announced his decision to run for the US president. And Kenya is about to experience the worst kind of inter-ethnic (Luo vs Kikuyu) violence following the victory of Mwai Kibaki, a Kikuyu as the new Kenyan president.

Ishmael and O have a track record of upsetting certain people in high places with their investigation and this new case was no different. They initially thought the murder case was an isolated incident until a bomb went off in one of Nairobi’s popular tourist hotels killing several Kenyans including some tourists. An autopsy revealed that their dead body is linked to the bomb blast. This revelation led to many other revelations that threatened not only the Kenyan government but also the American government. It also exposed the role world leaders and their advisors (who apparently call the shots) play in combating and even causing terrorism. It also exposed the partnership between the US government and Mexican drug cartels in the war against terrorism.

This book inspired me to learn more about the ethnic groups in Kenya especially Luo and Kikuyu, and their traditions. Based on this book, both ethnic groups do not intermarry. A Luo man is forbidden from marrying a Kikuyu woman. I tried doing research on this but some of my Google search results (mostly blog posts) were unfortunately in support of this tradition.


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