THE FALL OF SAINTS by Wanjiku wa Ngugi


Email this review


A Kenyan expatriate, now a pampered New York soccer mom, becomes a super sleuth and sharpshooter in a matter of days as she investigates an international human trafficking operation that branches out into even more sinister enterprises.

This debut is original, if confusing. The narrative teems with menacing characters, global conspiracies and gun battles that rock protagonist Mugure Sivonen’s world. Mugure is married to wealthy attorney Zack, and they live comfortably with their adopted 5-year-old son, Kobi. When Mugure discovers a scrap of paper with a phone number and Kobi’s name written on it, she’s propelled into a dark world of criminal activity that appears to center around the adoption agency that delivered Kobi to their door. The Kasla Agency was recommended by Zack’s friend Mark, a millionaire landscaper who reputedly employs illegals. Mark also is married to Mugure’s friend, Melinda, a singer, but she divorces him before she leaves New York to perform in other countries, including at Kenya’s Festival of Rags. Soon, Mugure lives in a constant state of paranoia, and almost everyone she comes into contact with is suspect—a mysterious caller, a frightening gunman, an ominous curio shop owner, a crazed 75-year-old carjacker—not to mention some members of her social circle who also seem rather shady. Mugure’s unsure whom to trust, so she grabs Kobi and ends up in Ohio at an old friend’s home, where, in a flash, she becomes a crack shot with every gun she handles. She also decides her son will be safe if she leaves him there while she heads to Kenya to find the answers to all of her questions. And she has a bunch. There, two more old friends come to her aid and help her meet more shady characters, visit witnesses, break into buildings, and engage in chases and gunfights with the bad guys. At one point, Mugure displays her superhuman powers by shooting with both hands—remember, she’s only recently learned to shoot—and disarms an adversary with a defensive kick to his hand. Before all issues are wrapped up, Mugure addresses a few subplots involving relatives and sorts through what seems like a cast of thousands to figure out who the bad guys really are.

By the end, readers will be too befuddled to care.

Pub Date: Feb. 25th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4767-1491-2
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Atria
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2014


NonfictionTHE CHILD CATCHERS by Kathryn Joyce
by Kathryn Joyce
NonfictionTHE RED MARKET by Scott Carney
by Scott Carney
by Stephanie Hepburn