BOOK REVIEW: THE GUY FROM EASTLANDS

Title: The guy from Eastlands

Author: Corney Gichuki

Publisher: Focus Publishers 

YOP: 2016

Price: Ksh. 200

Alex and his younger sister Hilda live in Dandora; in a sparingly furnished 10 by 10 feet room characterized by a rusty metal door which creaks when pushed and cockroaches as temporary housemates.

Alex, the undisputed midfielder in Makadara Youth Football Club relies on the perks they get from football to provide for his sister and himself. The sport is becoming more competitive and Mark, the upstart boy from Buruburu does not seem to make things better, at least from the look of things. But Mark is drawn to Alex and even spends all his savings to buy Alex a new pair of playing boots.

As the selection for the under 17 national team draws nearer, Alex’s estranged gangster brother, Michael, shows up with his gang members to persuade Alex to join them for a ‘night operation’. Alex says no to the feared gang leader, Bokassa, who doesn’t take a no for an answer. Hilda’s screams saves Alex from being strangled to death.

Michael is killed in a shoot-out and police officers show up at Alex’s home, searching for something. Mark arrives just in time to catch Alex being wheeled away in a police car. He needs to help Alex, but how?

Cornelius Muthee, Mark’s dad is a lawyer. He can save Alex. By coincidence or fate, there’s a history between the two families; there are owed favours and this is payback time. Cornelius has to do more for Alex, more than his jurisdiction as a lawyer allows. With more people involved, lives are endangered but Cornelius and Mark will do everything they need to save Alex and Hilda.

This was an okay type of read for me. I guess I expected to be transported deep into the depths of Dandora and the underworld. In that sense, my expectations weren’t met and at some point, I was just reading to finish. It would also be a better read without such mistakes as character confusion i.e Michael instead of Alex (pg 99)

The blurb was inaccurate too, noting that ‘the two brothers hate each other with a passion’ but it felt as though Michael wasn’t authentic enough. If anything, he seemed helpless and trapped in the gangster life. The story didn’t live up to the promise that  ‘’When Michael is killed, rival gang members cannot find the loot he had stolen from them” –Instead, it is corrupt police officers (who are not exactly gang members) looking for something Michael had. Whether it was stolen is not known.

Yay or nay? You can have a read and share your thoughts.