"Making Wolf" by Tade Thompson
Updated: Nov 15, 2020
“Making Wolf” by Tade Thompson
What’s the book about I hear you ask, well: Weston Kogi travels back to his west African home country to attend his aunt’s funeral, he had left his home country some 15 years prior, during a time of civil and political unrest. During the funeral he runs into his girlfriend from 15 years ago Nana, he also runs into his childhood bully Church. In trying to impress Church, Weston claims he is now a homicide detective in London, whilst in fact, he is a mall guard. The day after the funeral, Weston wakes up and finds himself kidnapped by a rebel group. Since he is a homicide detective, they want him to investigate the death of a renowned former politician and peace maker Pa Busi, they are certain that a rival rebel faction is responsible. Weston reluctantly agrees and after he is returned to the city he is then promptly kidnapped again, this time by the rival rebel faction, they want him to look into the same murder and they are convinced the other faction is responsible. Again, he agrees to investigate the murder. Now, Winston must dodge warring rebel factions, rival private detectives, corrupt government officials, taxi drivers and malaria, all while trying to rekindle his relationship former girlfriend and solve the murder of Pa Busi.
I knew that Tate Thompson was a talented writer after I read his award-winning science fiction novel “Rosewater” (which is the first book in “The Wormwood Trilogy”), a book I that blew me away when I read it! Now, since “The Wormwood Trilogy” is a well-crafted science fiction series, the question for me then becomes: how well does Tade Thompson write a crime thriller? Not all writers can switch genres without issues. Well, I for one am happy to inform you that “Making Wolf” is not only a good book, but it is easily the best crime/thriller I have read in a while!
I found this book quite funny, there is quite a few scenes and dialogue that cracked me up, for example one of the times Weston is being kidnapped he is thinking “this was the most polite abduction I had ever been involved in”, as they even get some food on their way to their destination. seriously, who does that? Also, the simple and blunt announcement by the air pilot in the beginning, kind of sets the tone.
Even though the book has several lighter points, there are also heavier elements, with quite a few bloody and violent deaths. Brutal torture and disregard for human life is rampant, with dead bodies floating in the harbour and nobody paying it any heed. It also shows the darker underbelly of poorer places in the world, with the hard reality of underage sex work. This book might not be for a person who enjoys only cosy murder mysteries by the fireplace.
One of the lighter illegalities the book encounter is corruption, it would almost seem like the entire country run on American dollars, preferably crisp ones.
The book is filled with well-rounded and memorable characters, but I must admit the best one is our protagonist Weston Kogi, he is a great fish-out-of-water character, yes, it is his native country, but he has been away for 15 years and when he left, he was a young man, so he is a bit unaccustomed to it all, he is almost like an ordinary tourist. It is outstanding how much Weston grows during the book. By the end, he is a more mature and hardened character, shaped by what he has experienced and what he has done. To be honest, I would love to read more of Weston’s life.
Thompson has created a truly exceptional world within the fictious west African country of Alcacia. The streets of its capitol of Ede City, are rendered in all its harsh and gritty nature. It all feels quite real. Seasoned with titbits of information on culture, history, and politics, helps flesh it all out. I think quite a few people would believe that Alcacia was and is a real country, African geography is not a strong suit for most westerners.
One thing I will point out is that this book is being turned into a tv show (yaay!) just keep it as much as possible to the original story, then it will be one of the best shows on tv!
So, if you are after a well-written crime/thriller set in Africa, filled to the brim with humour, action, great characters and twists, well, look no further!
I give this book 5/5 stacks of crisp American dollars.