VJ Books Blog

(Publisher’s Weekly, Feb. 2)

Sierra Leone’s decades-long civil war and its tragic legacy of “lost boy” soldiers serve as the backdrop for Harris’s journeyman debut. When Danny Kellerman, a British journalist in the midst of a flourishing career and a faltering marriage, receives an unexpected note pleading for help from Maria Tirado, a children’s relief worker who was his lover during his brief assignment in Sierra Leone four years earlier, he does a Google search on her. To his horror, Danny learns that Maria was murdered before her note reached him in what authorities in Sierra Leone are sweeping under the carpet as a botched roadside robbery. Determined to learn the truth, Danny finagles his way back to West Africa, where he uncovers dangerous truths that suggest his government and his friends aren’t the upstanding paragons he took them for. While the surprise-filled final chapter may strike some as a hastily contrived escape hatch, Harris shows a flair for intrigue that bodes well for future novels. (Apr.)

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