Book Review: Chasing a Bullet

Title: Chasing a Bullet

Author: Douglas Logedi

Price: Ksh.  800

                To buy: +254 723 321 662

There’s something about books which start with a death that already gets the reader on the defensive about life. But Fatimah’s death is not a random one; it serves to open unhealed wounds of death’s recent victims in her family. Salim, Fatimah’s father has lost a brother, a wife, and a son. All through acts of terrorism.

Amina, Salim’s remaining daughter and Fatimah’s twin, has been diagnosed with Myeloma. According to the doctors, she has two years to live. Mustafa, Salim’s remaining son is hungry for revenge. But he first needs to join them, learn their ways and kill them all – at least that’s the plan. But how easy is it to hunt down terrorists?

Mustafa sets out from the Rift Valley to Nairobi. He acquires a new identity (as Rahim Rehan) and lands a job as a photographer in a leading media house, the Informer. He strategically gets paired with Troy, a top performing investigative journalist with a penchant for reporting on terrorism and violence.

The Informer’s boss, Mr Patel – a queer man signs off documentations for Troy and Raheem to go into the enemy territory, Somalia.  They are to interview the leaders of the al-Shabaab; a terrorist group that Mustafa believes was responsible for his siblings’ and uncle’s death. It is while on the mission that Mustafa picks a picture that leads him into a long search on the webs of terror in East Africa. Together with Troy, they land in Mombasa to interview a said Al-Shabaab defector. Troy and Raheem’s friendship blossoms to the point of them dating two sister, Aliyah and Dinah.

As Troy and Mustafa continue their inquest, the country wakes up to more attacks. Terrorists raid a venue for the county’s drama festivals in Kericho and brutally cut short the lives of pupils, dumping the smell of death and fear in the whole country.

                          (Gentlemen chasing the bullet at the launch)

The author paints a world in which nothing is as it appears and truth is elusive. Trust, well, that is just a word. Secrets are the currency people trade in. Mustafa is soon to discover that the world is too large a field for him to play in. The deeper he digs into the history of terrorism, the more the answers escape him. The web of those involved is too entangled for him to handle.

But what if they are within? In the sleepy and little known town of Bomet? What if whatever he’s chasing is in the most accessible of places? By the time Mustafa comes to this realization, the search for his sister’s killers would hopelessly have taken him around the world and then back to his own home.

I loved this book for the depth, twists and suspense. I loved it for pointing out that acts of terrorism affects real people; with families and duty to the nation. The narrative distance was somewhat distant though. I noticed the camera lens through which I was seeing the characters.

But this is definitely worth a second read; not to mention how informative it is. 

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