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

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  536 Ratings  ·  113 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 February 14th 2013)
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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
Bonnie Brody
Aug 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 24, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Michael Logan
Feb 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 10, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Casey Aldridge
Mar 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 28, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 25, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
The Nairobi setting during the 2007 election and the violent aftermath was used to good effect in this debut featuring a former Maasai warrior turned police detective. I really liked the main character, thought the author did a great job of incorporating Maasai legend into the plot, and found the ending very suspenseful. I did have some trepidation about the author's style (no quotation marks) but once I started had no trouble with the narrative flow.
Gregory Dilcox
Jan 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
With Hour of the Red God Richard Crompton delivers one of the richest crime novels I've ever read. In order for Detective Mollel to solve the murder of a young sex worker he has to navigate tribal prejudges and modern politics in a rapidly changing and developing Kenya. Crompton does a wonderful job of demonstrating the changing clash between the old tribal ways of Kenya and the rapid westernization all while telling a satisfying crime novel.
Oct 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this mystery, can't wait for the second one to come out.
Sofia Razmilovic
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good story and good storytelling

This is a compelling story from a part of the world that is sorely underrepresented in literature. No deus ex machina resolutions here. Makes me want to read more from this author.
Jeremy Megraw
Sep 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
[☆] 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
Leonardo Etcheto
Feb 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
John Benson
Apr 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I was a teenager in the early 1970s going to a boarding school outside of Nairobi, I used to love taking the bus into the city on Saturdays and wander around downtown Nairobi. It was a beautiful city and felt very safe. In 2004, I returned and though I knew my way around its streets, I felt unsafe walking around downtown with people following me. It is this downtown Nairobi that Richard Compton describes in his first Detective Mollel novel which takes place during the 2007 Kenyan Presidenti ...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
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Jan 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
Renée Mee
Sep 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good book. Based in Naroibi,Kenya as is Author. You got a real authentic flavour of how different policing, the culture and politics are in Naroibi. I know from comments friends who have visited Africa and news reports that much of what he wrote minus characters and plot had a very realistic spin to it. The part of his book where he describes Election Day, you really get caught up in the lack of a democratic process under the guise of appearing to be one. His setting of the scene really set ...more
Dec 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This gripping detective story takes place in Nairobi, Kenya, on the eve of an election gone wrong. Despite the increasing chaos around him, Detective Mollen is determined to solve the murder of a prostitute, not just because it’s his job but because it’s personal: like him, the victim is a Maasai.

Living in Nairobi, I loved reading a story about the city, the people and the places I’m familiar with. But more than that, the plot, the characters and the vivid writing captivated me. Although a ficti
Jan 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 30, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, series, fiction
The third person narrative took a while to get used to. The story was a bit convoluted but provided a narrative through the setting. The interesting backdrop was the setting for the story to take place. The characters were good but did they grow or face important consequences? I guess I'll have to read the next book to find out. I came away with more of a feeling for the locale than I had before. It could have taken place anywhere but it didn't there was a specific background.
Some of the editori
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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...

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