Genre Fiction: Crime Thriller.
Blurb “Easy Motion Tourist is a compelling crime novel set in contemporary Lagos, featuring Guy Collins, a British hack who stumbles into the murky underworld of the city. A woman’s mutilated body is discarded outside a club near one of the main hotels in Victoria Island. The police pick up Collins, a bystander, as a potential suspect. After experiencing the unpleasant realities of a Nigerian police cell, he is rescued by Amaka, a guardian angel of Lagos working girls. As Collins discovers more of the darker aspects of what makes Lagos tick—including the clandestine trade in organs—he also slowly falls for Amaka.
Easy Motion Tourist pulsates with the rhythms of Lagos and entertains from beginning to end.”
Dialogue Well written in English and Nigerian Lingo and believable.
Themes Ambition, Corruption, Good vs Evil, Justice.
Editing Mostly well edited, a couple of typos.
Plot The Tourist is Guy Collins, a British journalist and lawyer who works for eCity TV and is on a mission to Nigeria to report on the presidential election. Over a very eventful weekend in Victoria Island, Lagos, he goes through the different shades of what the sub-surface world is like in Nigeria. Guy’s ex-girlfriend, Melissa is half Nigerian, and he had heard all kinds of stories about the country, but none like the ones he goes through on a trip that would have otherwise been “routine.”
On his first night in Lagos, Guy goes out to a nightclub where the mutilated body of a prostitute is dumped outside. The police officer investigating the crime “invites” Guy to the police station and detains him to prevent the ugly news from being reported by the international media. A mysterious lady, Amaka, rescues him from the police and helps him understand the Lagos underworld link of rich men, prostitutes and trade of body parts.
Lady B For once, a hyped book lived up to the hype! This is a well-written and engaging book. I’m always worried when I see that a book is a crime thriller set in Nigeria because of the myriad issues around policing and investigation of crimes. Author, Elizabeth Adeolu got around this by creating a fictitious detective agency for her mystery book, Chasing Facades.
Mo Easy Motion Tourist was the song in my head as I read this book. JO Araba and his band consisting of Fatai Rolling Dollar and Seni Tejuosho originally sang the song because the younger Tejuosho was locked out of his house by his father for coming home late and drunk. The song was later covered by a former band member, Fatai Rolling Dollar and popularised again in the 90s by King Sunny Ade. But I digress. This book is a fast-paced crime novel set in Lagos. Had the tourist, Guy heard this song and its warnings, perhaps he wouldn’t have ventured out of his hotel room at night and wouldn’t have encountered all he did. But he had a story to tell and he got one.
The prologue is entertaining but also helps the reader solve a moral puzzle that may niggle at you as you read the story. What we particularly like about this book is that it humanises prostitutes and tells their stories. This book is as much about Guy’s adventures as it is about Amaka’s own penance.
Leye pulls no punches in shining a spotlight on disturbing issues in this book. We see the deep-seated corruption in the Police Force and the gross abuse of human rights by the Force. Shamefully, Nigerians who live in Nigeria can relate to these stories. “Voodoo as a source of wealth” is a common story in Nigeria, and perhaps Africa. Leye puts a plausible link between trade of human body parts and unexplainable wealth.
We enjoyed reading about Nigeria from a tourist’s perspective, we see Lagos for what it is. Things which we regard as “normal” or have stopped paying attention to getting comments from tourists is interesting.
The story telling is almost flawless and captivating. The book is a page turner and has you wanting to know what will happen next. We like how the book addresses and focuses on the underbelly workings of the prostitution world in Lagos.
We are looking forward to reading When Trouble Sleeps, the sequel to Easy Motion Tourist. It reminds us of Fela’s song, Palaver “When trouble sleep, yanga go wake am. Wetin he dey find? Palaver he dey find, palaver he go get o.” The end of Easy Motion Tourist had us go “Amaka, who send you message?” The title of the sequel is perfect!
What didn’t work?
Lady B I found the narration for Guy in first person and everyone else in third person a bit odd. Considering it is An Amaka Thriller, I expected the first person narration, if used, to be for her.
I wondered what happened to some criminal characters in the end. Were they eventually caught or is there no resolution because they appear again in When Trouble Sleeps?
Mo This is a personal bias, but does anyone imagine that the Nigerian Police will give such a performance to rival Jason Bourne?
And maybe, the switch between narratives.
Number of pages 478 on Okadabooks. 327 for the physical book.
Publisher Cassava Republic Press.
Damage N1,500 on Okadabooks. N3600 at Booksellers bookshop.
Have you read Easy Motion Tourist? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.