Tuesday, December 1, 2015
White Leopard by Laurent Guillaume
Camara is a light-skinned black man, not completely accepted in his native France, nor in Mali, which his father called home. He has a protector of sorts in the head of police in Bamako, a childhood friend of his father’s, and a background in crime detection, so he waits for trouble to come to him, working for clients needing help.
The opening sequence in this novel is so tightly written we are drawn in before we can spot what lies ahead. A French law student in financial troubles is unwitting courier to drug traffickers, and Camara is called in to extricate her. What we get are cartel-like deaths with chainsaws, a road trip through Mali along the Niger, an overnight in the open sleeping on top of the jeep, satellite phones and long-range camera lenses for finding out who is allowing the drugs into the country.
For readers who hope to travel the world in books, or read a book from every country, this should definitely go on your list. For readers who simply wish to know more about what is happening in Mali now, you will be pleased to have a glimpse behind the curtain with this fast-paced and realistic thriller. France has a long tradition of producing great mystery and thriller writers and this author is definitely on that list.
The smooth and fluent translation by Sophie Weiner makes this an easy recommend.
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