I read about this book on another book blog a while back, and it has been sitting on my kindle neglected until yesterday. Fresh from a supernatural book about fairies I thought it seemed like a short-ish hop to bizarre and dangerous cults that embrace spirits and rituals.
When a US Diplomat disappears during a religious ceremony in the Zimbabwean bush there are hundreds of witnesses but no one willing to help the investigation. Dominic Grey works as a diplomatic security expert and is asked to investigate with the assistance of phenomenologist and cult expert Professor Viktor Radek. Being in Zimbabwe they are only to investigate under the supervision of a Government liaison, Nya Mashumba. As Grey and Nya , guided by Viktor's expertise, find increasingly disturbing evidence of a cult at work they also become targets.
In the past I have read odd articles and pieces about voodoo and juju, as well as other minor religions and cults but nothing as in depth as this. The details of the rituals were graphic in places, not recommended if you get a bit queasy about gore, but I also found the academic perspective of how cults work, provided by Radek interesting.
Grey is a complicated character with a difficult past, but I found him likeable and not lacking in depth. Nya is a little more mysterious and provided a good foil for him. The book is predominantly written from his viewpoint but also from that of other characters in places, allowing a greater insight into each of them.
The story does cover some of the issues faced in modern Zimbabwe, and provides some interesting description of a country I only know a little about from the news, but it doesn't labour details of the political situation. I felt I got a better feel for the place than I had before, without lots of unnecessary information that didn't really progress the plot, it struck a good balance.
I found the book well paced and interesting, but my minor complaint would be some of the language used by the author. In places it was quite archaic and obscure, and I found myself using the dictionary far more than usual. Where the words related to specialised areas of study I didn't have a problem but elsewhere there seemed to be a lot of words used for effect rather than for the benefit of the reader.
Overall though this was a really good read and I'll be interested to see where future installments take Grey.
Format: Kindle, bought by me
My rating: 4*