I’ve not read a more thrilling, gripping, suspense-filled page turner in a long while. This is one of those books that will be a box office hit if and when it is adapted into film.
Told from the several points of view, this novel centres on the JJC (Jolly Just Come) Guy Collins, a British Journalist who has come from London to Lagos, to cover the forthcoming elections. To while away time and to explore the city (having been warned not to do so alone), he goes on a not-well-thought-of trip to a bar in Lagos- a city that intimidates some citizens who are not familiar with the secrets of the streets talk more of a Britiko.
In a bid to get a juicy story to impress his bully of a boss and kill his colleague with envy, he gets entangled in a series of events that could only have manifested in his worst nightmares. He is first sucker punched by the sight of a mutilated female corpse, sans heart. Then he is whisked to the hellhole called a police station, for a nice time with the men of the Nigerian Police Force. Alas, after going through some preliminary horrors associated with the Nigerian Police, he is eventually rescued by Amaka, the one-woman vigilante and the protagonist of the book, who is on a personal mission to rid the society of the evils perpetrated by the wealthy men in the society who are preying upon and killing her girls- the prostitutes she is committed to saving.
The book further takes us on an explicit journey of Amaka’s self-developed strategies of crime-solving- most of them involving risky role plays that sometimes put her in awkward and perilous situations- the Chief Amadi encounter for instance.
For me, I love a lot of things about this book and I’ll start with the writer’s description of Lagos- its slums, its suburbs and everything in between. For someone born and brought up in Lagos, I was practically in all those places as I was reading the book. I could see myself in Matori with Go-Slow and Knockout and even at the Bar Beach police station with Guy. The description was that vivid.
I also appreciate the fact that the writer successfully juxtaposed the decadent state of the society, drawing a very clear picture of the high and sometimes unchecked rate of crime and criminal activities as well as the scourge of prostitution and the roles directly (or indirectly) played by the wealthy and influential citizens of the society.
The book also sheds light of the inhuman and tortuous treatments usually faced by suspects in police detention, especially by those who were unfortunate to be at the wrong place(s) at the wrong time(s).
I also love the wonderful characters created by the writer as they all represent the average human beings living in Lagos – I will call them Humans of Lagos. My favourite characters include the brave and undaunted Amaka ( I’m guessing that to create such an Amazon, Leye has experienced and probably lived with many strong women with personalities to match); the ruthless gangsters- Knockout, Go-Slow, Chucks and Catch-Fire; the ‘mumuish’ but well-meaning Guy Collins who got the baptism of fire that is usually reserved for JJCs in Lagos; Chief Amadi who represents the high society men whose foundation of wealth filthier than the canals of Isolo (an area in Lagos); Inspector Ibrahim who embodies the typical ‘Oga Police’ in the society; Chief Ojo who characterizes the lecherous adulterers that are never satisfied with their perfect families; Rolayo/Florentina who stands for some typical university ‘runs babe’ who eventually become victims of circumstance (usually not their faults) as well as the hustling prostitutes who have just one goal in life- survival.
I must commend the fact that the writer did not portray the prostitutes in a degrading or judgmental manner. Rather, he depicted them as women who do what they do for different reasons that life has thrown their way.
I also like the fact the book is direct and to the point, without mincing words. Leye Adenle is definitely a master storyteller as the book is an attention-grabbing, suspense-filled read because at a point, I had to skip to the last page, to find out what became of Amaka and Guy. (Spoiler right?).
It won’t be a bad idea if the book is made into a series- I can suggest a title already)- The Dark Angel Series: Chronicles of Amaka. Lol.
Jokes apart, the book has successfully touched on rather serious societal issues that are sometimes deliberately not-talked-about, such as ritual killings, the man-know-man syndrome in Nigeria, police irresponsibility, prostitution among several others.
Overall, I thoroughlyyyyyyyyy enjoyed the book (I read it at a sitting) and if I were to rate it, I’ll give it a 9/10.
Wow!!! Its offiical that the Battosai likes this book as much as we did on the #BookOnReview show. Nollywood, are you listening?