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MISSUE NO. 3620  

May 17 - 23, 2013

 

 Coastweek   Kenya


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Intriguing Thriller Of
Theft And Corruption

Marlele Reid reviews ‘The Elephant Dropping’
by Malindi author Bruce Trzebinski

Coastweek-- A book I have been waiting for! The description on the book cover says:

‘An intriguing fast paced tale of theft and corruption in East Africa’ which is a bit of an understatement.

The description could be extended to read ‘very intriguing, grand theft and wide-spread corruption’. 

The story in short précis is a tale of a very naïve forty five year old 'Brian Nicholls', fresh out from UK, first time in Africa, coming to work as an auditor for a Kenya Bank, full of enthusiasm and with romantic ideas about his new life in Kenya:

“An eager new broom, having been unemployed for two years in England … his subsequent divorce” ... feeling “all washed up”.

To his delight his first assignment is at the bank in Malindi where two local crooks of the highest calibre, and 'Evans', the somewhat hapless but greedy bank manager, are already up to their necks in a money making scam involving the sale of land, and who await his arrival with fear and trepidation.

Coastweek-- ‘The Elephant Dropping’ by Malindi author Bruce Trzebinski.

The last thing they want to see is an auditor and they soon put their heinous plans in order to hoodwink poor Brian whose trusting nature and naivety makes one cringe.

From here the story goes from bad to much worse, action speeding up, spreading out from Malindi to Nairobi, Tsavo Park and Mombasa.

Brian’s dreams of “pristine white beaches, dive-boat excursions with dolphins and whale sharks, deep-sea fishing in azure blue water and safaris to tented camps in the nearby game parks with elephants and lions” come crashing down and he finds himself the target of unscrupulous thieves who will stop at nothing to get what they want.

Happily there are some good characters who befriend Brian; 'Lucy' the bar girl, 'Doug', a Nairobi car mechanic and 'Firdus' his uncle and the police officer 'Katana'.

The story is full of many other mostly creepy and wicked characters all circling around each other, fearing each other, none trusting the other, all motivated by greed and working the system for their own selfish gain.

For fear of spoiling the tale by telling too much that is all I am going to say.

Suffice to say it is a really rollicking sometimes discomfiting tale from beginning to end.

It was comforting to read the disclaimer on the back of the title page stating that except in the case of historical fact all characters, businesses, places etc. were products of the author’s imagination.

Thank goodness for that.

The characters and the plot are so convincing and realistic that I did look at that statement several times to reassure myself that it is just fiction.

A good novel needs primarily to entertain and if an adventure it needs to keep the reader in a state of suspense.

‘The Elephant Dropping’ accomplishes both of these requirements.

I hardly dared to turn the page to find out what dirty deeds would next ensue.

I heard that of the people who have already read ‘The Elephant Dropping’ the only complaint was that it took two days to read during which time nothing else got done.

It took me a week to read it due to other duties and in fact I hardly wanted it to end. 

Physically the book is well produced in an attractive strong cover, good sized font, well spaced lines and good quality paper; a big book of 492 pages.

Editing could have been better.

The title seemed a bit of a mystery until the last few pages when it becomes evident, providing an interesting twist.

‘The Elephant Dropping’ will probably appeal most to people who have knowledge of East Africa, especially nice were the descriptions, with correct names, of the birds coming to feed off the verandah at Firdus’s house.

A nice touch in direct contrast to the rest of the story.

Overall for anybody who likes an exciting well-written, imaginative story of intrigue, it is a great read, well worth buying.

This is Bruce’s first novel and I personally hope it will not be his last.

Book on sale at: ‘Paper Connections’, Ratna Square, Mombasa. ‘Sun and Sand’ shop, Diani. ‘Bookstop’, Yaya Centre, Nairobi.  Price 1,650 K Shs.

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