Hell's Gate by Richard Crompton exceeds high expectations
August 6, 2014
Great review of Hell's Gate by Australian journalist Ann Fussell...
A second novel is always a daunting prospect for a new author, particularly one who has received rave reviews for his or her debut book. The level of expectation is so extreme that reality can be, all too frequently, a disappointment. Richard Crompton set the bar very high with his first novel, the highly praised The Honey Guide which introduced Mollel, a Maasai cop based in Nairobi, taken to the edge by personal tragedy and a dysfunctional justice system.
When Crompton’s follow-up novel, Hell’s Gate, opens, Mollel is back but things aren’t looking too good. He is in jail, literally in Hell, a small straggling township on land between Lake Naivasha and the Hell’s Gate National Park. It soon becomes clear that Mollel is working undercover ostensibly investigating corruption within the police force. Everyone is suspicious of him and he has to constantly revise his view of who he can trust. Each day adds questions. Why is his former junior colleague in town accompanied by an attractive American lawyer? Why was a female flower packer killed? Who is the mysterious Mbatiani and why does he want to kill Mollel?