Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Hour of the Red God: A Detective Mollel Novel” as Want to Read:
Hour of the Red God: A Detective Mollel Novel
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Hour of the Red God: A Detective Mollel Novel (Mollel #1)

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  416 ratings  ·  100 reviews
The Maasai believe in two gods. Enkai Narok, the Black God, is benign. Enkai Nanyokie, the Red God, is the god of anger, vengeance, and death.
Nairobi, 2007. In Africa's sprawling megacity, a small elite holds power over an impoverished, restless majority. Corruption, exploitation, and ethnic rivalry are part of everyday life. Amid claims of vote rigging and fraud, the pre
Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 1st 2014 by Picador (first published 2013)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Hour of the Red God, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Hour of the Red God

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,013)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Nairobi, Kenya in 2007 is a city torn. Endemic corruption, ethnic violence, and tribal jealousy are just another fact of life. It’s a place of huge contrasts from wealthy enclaves to slums, rich ministers and power brokers to prostitutes and beggars. It is so vastly different from America; it's like stepping off a cliff into a new world. In Richard Crompton's capable hands and descriptive prose, Nairobi comes alive becoming more than a mere setting for the story, but a richly textured part of th ...more
This was a really hard book to read - not least because the speech was never marked so the book was pretty much all over the place. I get that this was the authors style and it was pretty brave to approach a first novel in this way but still - it was heavy going. That being said I kept going with it because I wanted to know the outcome, so the book must have hooked me enough for that at least! At times I found the historical aspects fascinating, at other times I found that the general mumble of ...more
Bonnie Brody
The Honey Guide by Richard Crompton takes place in Nairobi, Kenya in late December 2007 during the corrupt election for a new president. I was especially interested in this book as I was in Nairobi at the exact time that the novel takes place. I was not able to leave my hotel because of the gun fire in the streets and the general chaos but I knew what was going on. Interestingly, so many Kenyans came up to me and asked me if I thought that Obama had a chance of winning. They were so invested in ...more
This is the beginning to, what I hope, will become a series, featuring detective Mollel, a former Maasai warrior. It is 2007 and the run up to elections in Nairobi, which will result in claims of vote rigging, protests and violence. Already, the city is simmering with political, and tribal, allegiances. When Mollel and Kiunga are sent to investigate the body of a young woman, found mutilated in a ditch, she is also a Maasai. Initial investigations suggest she is a streetwalker and only Mollel se ...more
Police procedural set in Kenya. Quite unique in that this detective (Mollel ) is a former Masai warrior. Interesting, but it was missing something for me. Maybe it's because, despite the fact that he's a dad to Adam, he appears to be really lonely, ( Molel's wife was killed in the American Embassy bombing some years earlier. The protagonist was likeable, and very much a good cop, though his parenting skills left much to be desired. In this debut novel, he puts family and his job on the line, inv ...more
I really wanted to love this book. And I did love learning more about Kenya and its people. But the detective is utterly stereotypical: obsessed, grieving, inept at relating to those he loves most, self-harming, with both bright flashes of insight and huge, dark shadows of obliviousness. And eventually the book's central mystery is drowned in the larger chaos that followed the 2007 elections, giving the book a postmodern, even nihilistic feel. When my favorite character was killed because of his ...more
This book started well, but fell apart towards the end. Partly, this was due to the biggest problem I have with a lot of detective novels: the protagonist is just guessing! At least twice in this novel, he goes to someone and accuses them, only for them to a) tell him he's wrong and b) point him in a better direction. Even if this is more realistic than the Sherlock Holmes figure deducing things first time, with no errors, it's pretty unsatisfying for a reader.

(Here's another example, with minor
Mollel is a Maasai policeman living in Nairobi around the time of a political election that leaves the country in unrest. A couple of days before the election a female body is found, with her genital area mutilated. Mollel is asked to investigate the case to see if he can find out what happened to this young woman.

This is one of a few books that I have read set in Africa and I did enjoy this book as it did give an insight into African society - how prostitutes are viewed by the public, how Afric
Police procedural set in Nairobi. The main character was so stoic that I had a bit of trouble warming up to him. Both the complex mystery and additional characters made this a stronger story that I first thought. I turned out to like the detective a lot too. Very good.
Casey Aldridge
Better than I was expecting from the first couple chapters. Essentially it's a crime novel set in a background of political corruption and civil unrest. Not something I necessarily would have picked up myself but was a good piece of crime fiction - red herrings, characters that you grow to care about, twists and turns and with it all the very distinct possibility that a lot of these characters that you like and admire might not make it through. Took me perhaps a third of the book to really get i ...more
Detective stories from other countries are my favourites. A mystery to solve and a glimpse into the culture and practices of another society - perfect. Set in Nairobi during a violent and corrupt election in 2007, the Honey Guide ticks all the boxes above. Mollel is a Masai policeman, who is assigned a murder case involving a Masai girl. Mollel is dedicated to his police job and grieving for his dead wife, at the expense of his young son. Paired with the more flamboyant and personable policeman ...more
Leonardo Etcheto
I read the American version, which is called Hour of the Red God! This is the kind of book I love: a cool detective story with lots of twists and turns, but at the same time a meditation of a time and place with which I am not familiar. In this case Nairobi - Kenya during the 2007 elections. I had no idea the Maasai were looked down on as primitive bumpkins and all the tribal animosity. The corruption, graft, traffic, slums and disorder I am very familiar with from South America. Crappy self int ...more
I may be picking the wrong crime books but, all too often, the protagonist has a hackneyed 'issue' plucked from a well-worn list of addictions, the setting is all-too-familiar, and the pace is a bit pedestrian.

The Honey Guide was therefore a welcome change. Set in a dusty, tense Nairobi in the run-up to the 2007 presidential election, the book introduces a refreshing new hero, a Maasai-warrior-turned-cop named Mollel, whose dogged obsession with justice and truth sets him apart from his colleag
A well written, well plotted mystery set in Kenya during the disputed 2007 election. Detective Mollel is a Masai suffering from PTSD since spending days pulling bodies out of the rubble of the USA embassy bombing a few years earlier. His wife was killed in the bombing and he has never really recovered. He and his partner, a Kikuyu named Kiunga are called to the scene when the body of a murdered woman, a Masai prostitute, is found near a storm sewer.

Mollel and Kiunga are an interesting contrast i
A well-paced, enthralling introduction to Mollel: I couldn't put it down. Looking forward to another instalment: this is a great first novel by Crompton.
Loved this mystery, can't wait for the second one to come out.
Steven Vaughan-Nichols
This is an engrossing mystery with an interesting hero in a world most people don't know: A Maasai policeman in modern-day Nairobi. Now, I know more than most about the Maasai, Nairobi, and Kenya, but I think even if you don't know why the Luo dislike the Kikuyu or how the Maasai manage to keep one foot in the traditional country and one in contemporary urban life. The character, his struggles, the mysteries, and a well-described city on the edge of breakdown kept me reading and I think others w ...more
[☆] мєℓαиιє [★]
In Nairobi wird eine junge Frau brutal ermordet, in einem Abwasserkanal einfach ihrem Schicksal überlassen. Die Tote war zudem eine Angehörige der Massai.
Der Polizist Mollel, welcher ebenfalls dieser Volksgruppe angehört, wird mit dem Fall betraut. Seine Ermittlungsmethoden sind eher eigenwillig und durch eine Aktion in seiner Vergangenheit ist er bei der Polizei längst in Ungnade gefallen und arbeitet nur noch als Verkehrspolizist.
Für diesen Fall holt man ihn jedoch zurück und schon bald befind
Aug 25, 2014 Martina rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery Group[
Second reading before the Mystery Group. The opening sequence is even better the second time around! I like the character of Detective Mollel....

It is a very smooth, easy read. Knowing the ending this time, I made connections with things that got past me the first time reading. There is so much included in the story, but seamlessly and effortlessly. I've been really impressed with how the author gives you more than the bare bones but doesn't really slow down the story line doing it. Really looki
P.D.R. Lindsay
'The Honey Guide' is a police procedural novel set in Kenya. Modern Kenya. It's a multi-layered novel and one which people who want to know what goes in in other parts of the world should read. There's plenty for the intelligent reader to think about and much to distress them.

Political corruption affects the police force which can be brutal and inefficient, bribe taking and boot licking. But not all police are thus inclined. In Nairobi Mollel, once a former Maasai warrior, now a detective, has b
Michael Logan
Police procedural/detective novels are ten-a-penny these days, many of them formulaic and rather predictable in terms of character and plot - putting aside the masters of the genre, that is. Fortunately, Richard Crompton's novel sidesteps falling into the usual traps by virtue of the fact it is set in Nairobi, Kenya.

Anybody who has lived in Nairobi for any length of time, as I have, knows that the police force has limited access to modern policing techniques such as advanced forensics, vast com
Jeremy Megraw
a.k.a. Hour of the Red God (U.S. edition). A slightly modified version of this review appears on Crime Fiction Lover.

It’s 2007, and in the run-up to Kenya’s national elections, Nairobi is poised for tribal strife. Election-rigging is charged early on and voters who are not protesting in the streets are closing their shutters in anticipation of violence. In the midst of the tumult, local police officer Mollel is summoned to investigate the murder of a prostitute who appears to be of Maasai origin
I found this book hard going at the beginning, the way the book was set out with no speech marks, just a line denoting speech irritated me and detracted from my reading experience greatly. I also struggled to find a connection with the protagonist and engage with his life and job. As this was a book club read I persevered and slowly the book came to life as we were introduced to a range of often fascinating characters and began to learn a little more about Mollel and the city he called home.
Gary Turner
This is the second book of Richard Crompton that I have read, Hells Gate being the first. All I can really say is that Crompton gets better the more he writes. In comparison I prefer Hell's Gate, to The Honey Guide, simply because Crompton describes Kenya so well.
Mollel evolves as a character throughout both books, he developes into a disturbed police office and human being. An island amongst corruption, and a steadfast ideal for other police officers, and citizens alike. Cromptons portreyal of
"l'ora del Dio Rosso" e' per i Masai, il momento in cui arriva la follia. in cui la ragione perde ogni appiglio e la violenza ha la meglio.

E,a agli occhi del sergente Mollel, poliziotto Masai reintegrato per seguire un violento caso di omicidio, sembra che l'intera Nairobi viva nel nome del Dio Rosso, specie alle soglie delle piu' tumultuose elezioni politiche di sempre, con le diverse fazioni etniche sull'orlo di una guerra senza quartiere.

Lucy e' stata uccisa, brutalmente, senza una ragione. F
R.J. Lynch
I enjoyed this book in many ways. It's fast moving and it provides interesting insights into Kenya and Nairobi, a country and a city I know reasonably well. I can't give it more than three stars because the characters (including the protagonist) don't entirely convince and the plot is unravelled a little too glibly and with a little too much explanation but, if you're looking for a holiday read that won't tax you too much, this would be a good choice.
I read the American kindle edition published under a different title. It was a unique story element for the author to create a main character with a mental illness who was taking medication, doing his job with the police and involved with his family. Often the person with the mental illness is the bad guy in stories. I would look for others by this author for both the crime-solving part of the story that drew me in and the setting itself which added to my interest.
Kevin Scott
I read this as much to get the feel of Nairobi (and Kenya) as to read an interesting story. I felt like I didn't quite get as much of either as I had hoped. On the former, the author's evocation of place almost requires (the American) reader to have traveled to Africa to be able to envision the environment he's trying to create (recreate?). On the latter, things are a bit better but the story just didn't quite resonate with me. But I liked the cast of characters. The placement against the backdr ...more
Rory Stanbridge
I read this book as Richard Crompton was recommended by Ian Rankin, one of my favourite authors. It is a story for anyone but has a particular poignancy for anyone that has lived in Africa, especially Kenya. Beautifully written it conjures up pictures of Africa at its best and its worst. Violent at times but never gratuitously, it introduces the reader to Mollel, a Masai detective and shows the prejudice and racism existing in Africa today. A fabulous read!
I donwloaded this on a whim after seeing it promoted in a local book shop on a trip to the UK. It was unexpectedly good - the writing is tight, the premise interesting and the twists somewhat (not completely) unexpected.

I look forward to reading more from this author.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 33 34 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Devil-Devil
  • The Frozen Dead: A Novel
  • A Carrion Death (Detective Kubu, #1)
  • The Beauty of Murder
  • Original Skin (Aector McAvoy, #2)
  • Children of the Street
  • The Missing Dough (Pizza Lovers, #6)
  • The Summer of Dead Toys (Inspector Salgado #1)
  • The Nightmare Place
  • Double Vision: Code Name 711  (Double Vision, #2)
  • The Tooth Tattoo (Peter Diamond, #13)
  • Random Violence (Jade de Jong, #1)
  • Capital Punishment (Charles Boxer, #1)
  • The Golden Scales (Makana, #1)
  • Double Whammy (Davis Way #1)
  • Frozen Moment (Christian Tell, #1)
  • Killed at the Whim of a Hat (Jimm Juree #1)
  • Present Darkness (Detective Emmanuel Cooper, #4)
Richard Crompton lives in Nairobi, Kenya, with his wife and their three young children. A former BBC journalist, Crompton left London several years ago when his wife, a human rights lawyer, was offered a job in Rwanda helping to prosecute the perpetrators of genocide.
More about Richard Crompton...

Other Books in the Series

Mollel (2 books)
  • Hell's Gate (Mollel #2)
Hell's Gate (Mollel #2) Hell's Gate Mord in Kenia: Kriminalroman Star Chamber Cases: Showing What Cases Properly Belong to the Cognizance of That Court

Share This Book