Summary and book reviews of Hour of the Red God by Richard Crompton

Hour of the Red God

A Detective Mollel Novel

by Richard Crompton

Hour of the Red God by Richard Crompton X
Hour of the Red God by Richard Crompton
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Apr 2013, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2014, 304 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Elena Spagnolie
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

The Maasai believe in two gods. Enkai Narok, the Black God, is benign. Enkai Nanyokie, the Red God, is the god of anger, vengeance, and death.

In Nairobi's Uhuru Park, the police have recovered the body of a local prostitute: a Maasai woman, brutally murdered. It's hard to discern what went wrong. Was this a female circumcision gone awry? Was she the victim of a pimp, or maybe of one of her customers?

Detective Mollel, himself a former Maasai warrior, is assigned to the case. Like all great heroes in crime fiction, Mollel is complicated, even flawed. His scars and stretched earlobes, the hallmarks of the Maasai, make him conspicuous on the streets of corrupt contemporary Nairobi. Worse still, he can't seem to leave well enough alone, no matter what the consequences.

As Mollel pursues the death of the prostitute, he begins to suspect something far more extensive than an ordinary murder. But are his warrior's instincts - which have never failed him - as true as they feel? Or will all his convictions about the case be turned on their head? As the investigation devolves into chaos, the outcome becomes more personal than he could ever have imagined.

With the sophistication of Ian Rankin and Colin Harrison, and set against the backdrop of Kenya's turbulent 2007 elections, Richard Crompton's Hour of the Red God brings Nairobi and its citizens vividly to life: gritty and modern, with an extraordinary blend of tribal and urban elements. In this dark thriller, tradition and power collide to a shocking, unforgettable end.

1

SATURDAY, 22 DECEMBER 2007

The sun is at the vertical, and shade is as scarce as charity on Biashara Street. Where it exists—in shop fronts and alleyways, like cave mouths and canyons—life clings: eyes blink, and patiently they watch.

They see a man and a boy walking along the sidewalk, the boy turning every third or fourth step into a skip to match his companion's rangy stride.

The man, in concession, has stooped slightly to maintain a conversational height. Their posture suggests that if either reached out a hand, the other would grasp it, but for their own reasons, neither will offer. They are father and son.

—But where would you ride it? the father asks wearily. It's evidently a long-running conversation.

—Anywhere! says the boy. I could go to the shops for you.

—Adam, this is Nairobi. You go out on your own on a bike, you're going to get killed. Have you seen the drivers here?

—Then around the compound. Grandma's house. It's ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

What I like most about this novel is how Crompton allows readers to experience Nairobi with all five senses. Through his vivid descriptions we feel the oppressive heat while waiting in horrific traffic, we taste the dust of the landscapes and the spiciness of chai, and we hear the supportive murmurs of churchgoers as Reverend George Nalo preaches about God and what to look for in a political candidate.   (Reviewed by Elena Spagnolie).

Full Review (797 words).

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

Media Reviews

The Times (UK)
[Hour of the Red God] is not the first mystery novel to be set in Kenya, but it must be the first in which the cop hero is a Masai warrior . . . National events and Mollel’s family problems are blended into a good plot and an interesting cast of characters.

Kirkus Reviews
Former BBC journalist Crompton's debut features a unique voice, an in-depth look at diverse Kenyan rites and political chicanery, and a hero who, one hopes, is just at the beginning of his fictional career.

Booklist
All fans of international crime fiction will want to follow Mollel through Nairobi's mean streets.

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. The surprising but fair-play solution to the mystery packs a wallop - and instantly elevates the author, now a Nairobi resident, to the first rank of African crime writers.

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

The Maasai People

One of the reasons Richard Crompton's Hour of the Red God is so appealing is that he delivers different, fresh characters who have a strong sense of (and often struggle with) their cultural identity. The star of the book, Detective Mollel, was born into and raised within the Maasai tribe, one of Africa's semi-nomadic, cattle-herding groups.

The Maasai people speak Maa, with many also speaking one or both of Kenya's official languages, English and Swahili. They reside in the southern portion of Kenya and flow into Tanzania along the Great Rift Valley. It is estimated that over 800,000 people belong to the tribe, however, according to the Maasai Association, "…Maasai see the national census as government meddling and often miscount ...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by Richard Crompton

If you liked Hour of the Red God, try these:

  • A Killing in Zion jacket

    A Killing in Zion

    by Andrew Hunt

    Published 2015

    About this book

    More books by this author

    A deeply researched mystery, A Killing in Zion portrays a city and a religion struggling to grow and shake off a notorious history that has not yet become a thing of the past.

  • A Dark Redemption jacket

    A Dark Redemption

    by Stav Sherez

    Published 2013

    About this book

    A Dark Redemption introduces DI Jack Carrigan and DS Geneva Miller as they investigate the brutal rape and murder of a young Ugandan student

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Territory of Light
    Territory of Light
    by Yuko Tsushima
    Set in Tokyo during the late 1970s, Yūko Tsushima's Territory of Light chronicles a year in the...
  • Book Jacket: Unmarriageable
    Unmarriageable
    by Soniah Kamal
    Soniah Kamal makes no secret of the fact that her novel Unmarriageable is a retelling of Jane Austen...
  • Book Jacket: The Paragon Hotel
    The Paragon Hotel
    by Lyndsay Faye
    Lyndsay Faye's arresting The Paragon Hotel focuses on how disparate groups of marginalized people ...
  • Book Jacket: When Death Becomes Life
    When Death Becomes Life
    by Joshua D. Mezrich
    Though it happened more than ten years ago, Joshua Mezrich still clearly remembers setting out in a ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Becoming
by Michelle Obama

An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Lost Man
    by Jane Harper

    A stunning standalone novel from New York Times bestseller Jane Harper.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Night Tiger
    by Yangsze Choo

    "Wonderfully combines a Holmes-esque plot with Chinese lore."
    --PW, starred review
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Cherokee America

Cherokee America
by Margaret Verble

An epic novel from the author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist Maud's Line.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

P C, Absolute P C A

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.