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Thursday, 27 August 2015

‘Bound to Secrecy’ by Vamba Sherif

Published by Hope Road,
April 2015.
ISBN: 978-1-90844-632-9

Set in a remote Liberian border town, this book takes a while to warm up. For the first few chapters the author sets the scene beautifully and it felt more like a Paulo Coelho (no bad thing!) than a murder mystery. This is certainly no fast-paced, gritty thriller. The style is almost more Scandi-crime (but without the alcoholism) featuring long, somehow bleak, descriptions of life and society in Liberia.

Through the eyes of our hero, William Mawolo, we learn that he is there to investigate the disappearance of the local chief. Interviewing those who knew him, William uncovers conflicting perspectives and despairs of ever solving the mystery. Along the way he lusts after the missing chief's daughter and one of her grandfather's wives makes it plain that she would like to get to know him better. So far, so incestuous!

And this is indicative of the locale: a small, tribal society where everyone seems to know their place and some of them do not appreciate William's investigation. But he perseveres despite fearing that he will be poisoned by someone who doesn't want the truth to come out. Ultimately, the truth is stranger than he could ever have expected.

This is a thought-provoking, beautifully descriptive, almost mystical novel that will sweep you gently away into a world far removed from our own.
Reviewer: Joanna Kennedy

 Vamba Sherif was born in Kolahun, Liberia in 1973. In his early teens he moved to Kuwait, where he completed secondary school. The First Gulf War compelled him to leave Kuwait and settle first in Damascus, Syria and then in The Netherlands, where he read Law. Vamba is also a journalist and film critic. His passions are music, film and rare books on Africa. His books include: The Land of the Fathers, The Kingdom of Sebah, The Witness and The Black Napoleon.

Joanna Kennedy studied French and German at university. She works in the aerospace industry and is a chartered marketer in the UK. She describes herself as a voracious reader, enjoying genres as varied as crime thrillers, historical fiction and autobiographies. Joanna lives in London. She is the daughter of crime thriller writer Leigh Russell.

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