Tuesday 25 July 2017

City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C Anderson

City of Saints & ThievesStreet-thief Tina breaks in to the luxurious house where her mother was killed to steal from Mr. Greyhill and nail him for her mother’s murder. She is caught red-handed.

Saved by Mr. Greyhill’s gorgeous son, Michael, the pair set in motion a cascade of dangerous events that lead them deeper into the mystery, and reveal dark and shocking secrets from Tina’s past.

Tina and her mother fled the Congo years ago as refugees, trading the uncertain danger of their besieged village for a new, safer life in the bustling Kenyan metropolis. The corruption and politics of the Congo, and the gangster world of Sangui City, are behind Tina’s mother’s downfall. Is Tina tough enough to find the truth and bring the killer to justice?

Tina and her mother escaped the gang wars in the Congo to live in Kenya, where they worked and lived at the Greyhills. Tina grew up with the Greyhill's son Michael and then her little sister came along, a product of Tina's mum's affair with the master of the household. But when she is found murdered, Tina is sure that Mr Greyhill did it, and spends years working her way up in a street gang until she is strong and talented enough to break in and find the evidence she needs. 

I don't think I've read a book set in Africa before and that made this thriller very interesting. Along with the metropolitan cityscape, there was a much darker underbelly, with gangs, racism, gun trade and large class gaps between rich and poor. 

When Tina breaks into Mr Greyhill's office, she is surprised by Michael and he convinces her to let him help and prove his father's innocence. Thus begins a very uneasy partnership, as they search badly written police reports, old photographs and newspaper clippings for anything about Tina's mum's old life and who might have wanted her dead. Their search takes them, and Tina's friend BoyBoy, a hacker expert, back to Tina's home town. 

This book was not at all what I expected and so much better. It was part crime thriller, part social commentary with lots of issues and discussions about race, civil unrest, the dangers for women in wartime (and out of wartime, while we're at it) and gang life. I honestly couldn't bear to put this book down, I desperately wanted to know the truth, for Tina and for Michael. A surprising new favourite that I've already recommended to my family, and a great story that shows the world a little differently.  

Published 6th July 2017 by OneWorld. Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

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