Black Star Nairobi

Part of Melville International Crime

Two cops—one American, one Kenyan—team up to track down a deadly terrorist.

It’s December 2007. The Kenyan presidential elections have gotten off to a troubled start, with threats of ethnic violence in the air, and the reports about Barack Obama on the campaign trail in the United States are the subject of newspaper editorials and barstool debates. And Ishmael and O have just gotten their first big break for their new detective agency, Black Star.

A mysterious death they’re investigating appears to be linked to the recent bombing of a downtown Nairobi hotel. But local forces start to come down on them to back off the case, and then a startling act of violence tips the scales, setting them off on a round-the-globe pursuit of the shadowy forces behind it all. A thrilling, hard-hitting novel, from the author of Nairobi Heat, a major new crime talent.

MUKOMA WA NGUGI is the author of Nairobi Heat, which introduces the detectives Ishmael and O. His fiction has been shortlisted for the 2009 Caine Prize and the 2010 Penguin Prize for African Writing. His columns have appeared in The Guardian, International Herald Tribune, and The Los Angeles Times, and he has been a guest on Democracy Now, Al Jazeera, and the BBC World Service. His essays and poetry have been included in a number of anthologies as well as in his own poetry collection, Hurling Words at Consciousness. Ngugi was born in 1971 in Evanston, Illinois, the son of the world-renowned African writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o, and grew up in Kenya before returning to the United States for his undergraduate and graduate education. He is currently a professor of English at Cornell University.

“This is a terrific novel with intriguing characters and a wonderful setting.” —the Globe and Mail

“Stellar… In a country rife with tribal violence, the relationship between these men offers a unique perspective on postcolonial racism and global politics.” —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“What sets Wa Ngugi apart is his grasp of global politics.” —Shelf Awareness, starred review

“This hard-boiled crime novel packs an intense amount of action within its fast-paced pages… An interesting and unusual read.” —Library Journal

“[An] exceptional crime novel.” —Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Praise for Nairobi Heat

“Nairobi Heat takes us to Kenya with a refreshing authority… Besides the usual fun and thrill of crime novels, what makes the book a delicious read is that it’s also packed with engaged and relevant social commentary.” —NoViolet Bulawayo chooses Nairobi Heat for her summer reading on the New York Times’s Room for Debate blog

“If you’re weary of the glut of Scandinavian crime fiction, take a trip to Kenya’s teeming capital city.”—New York Post

“Ishmael Fofona, Ngugi’s detective, may not as yet have taken over from Kurt Wallander in our affections, but I’m hoping it’s only a matter of time.”—The Telegraph

“Just as the works of James Ellroy and Carl Hiaasen dig beneath the glitter of Hollywood and South Beach, respectively, to reveal a nasty, fetid underside, [Nairobi Heat] rips away images of the Sahara and safaris and goes beyond nightly news pictures of deprivation.”—Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“A fast-paced hard-boiled crime novel… Pick up a copy if you know what’s good for you.”—Flavorwire

“Sizzling…an action-packed cross-cultural ride, crackling with detail garnered from the author’s experience reporting on the African communities in which this story is set.”—Barnes and Noble Review