A gritty thriller set in modern-day Nigeria Weston Kogi, a police officer in a supermarket in London, returns to his home in West Africa for his aunt’s funeral. After catching up with his family, his ex-girlfriend Nana, and an old schoolmate over good food and plenty of beer, it seems like a bit of harmless hyperbole to tell people he works as a homicide detective. But wA gritty thriller set in modern-day Nigeria Weston Kogi, a police officer in a supermarket in London, returns to his home in West Africa for his aunt’s funeral. After catching up with his family, his ex-girlfriend Nana, and an old schoolmate over good food and plenty of beer, it seems like a bit of harmless hyperbole to tell people he works as a homicide detective. But when he his kidnapped by separate rebel factions to investigate the murder of a local hero, Papa Busi, Weston soon finds out that solving the crime may tip the country into civil war. A noir novel set in the blazing sunlight of the tropics, Making Wolf is an outrageous, frightening, violent, and sometimes surreal homecoming experience of a lifetime....
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Making Wolf Reviews
Weston Kogi comes back to Alcacia, the Yoruba-dominated nation he left during the civil war that tore it apart. He means only to attend the funeral of his aunt, and to leave soon afterwards--flash around his money, boast about his job in the Metropolitan Police in London, and generally have a good time. But his ex-school buddy bully Church, now a member of the People's Liberation Army, has other ideas: Weston is the perfect person to investigate the murder of a local hero who was trying to mediate between two rebel armies. And that'd be fine, wouldn't it, if Weston hadn't told a teensy tiny lie about what himself--he's merely a supermarket guard, not a homicide investigator. As violence begets more violence, Weston finds himself drawn deeper into the quagmire of Alcacia--and this isn't a country kind to anyone, least of all to its inhabitants...This is a suffocating, suspenseful thriller about one man inexorably caught in a spiral of violence in a country torn apart by civil war. The tense atmosphere is heightened by the author's eye for detail, which make even a simple marketplace scene come alive, and remarkably render the sense of a vise closing around Weston. Alcacia is a place rife with corruption, where everyone fights for their own existence--and where Weston, struggling to remain neutral, is an anomaly. In many ways, it's a gradual descent into darkness--except that it soon becomes obvious that the innocent stand no chance in Alcacia, and that one cannot remain free of darkness to survive--and that corruption and darkness might well be the price of making a stand... It's a terrific and riveting read that pulls no punches.Highly recommended.
Bleak, sick, gritty, action-packed-- an award-winning neo-noir detective thriller taking place in a vague Yoruba-dominated nation that, despite the schlocky CGI cover, feels highly realistic and adult. Along with familiar themes of violence, depravity, and shock, also addresses themes of colonialism, corruption, Western involvement, and immigrant guilt (and, if you want to get literary, some underhanded symbolism of cultural dominance, castration, insecurity, and impotence, all cleverly played). Thompson's Alcacia stands for something more, but if you just want a well-written, rip-roaring good read of mystery and depravity, it's that too, making it reminiscent of the more ambitious, but slightly less un-put-downable Booker winner A Brief History of Seven Killings. Looking forward to more from this author.
...With all its graphic descriptions of violence and other forms of human misery, Making Wolf is not a particularly easy book to read. It made me uncomfortable in several places, which is probably what the author aimed for. You need to be able to stomach quite a lot to handle this book. That being said, it is a lot more than just violence. Thompson has his reasons to tell the story the way he does. He wants the book to be more than a simple fast-paced thriller and succeeds gloriously. It's a book that hides a lot of food for thought under the surface. I've been spoiled with a great many good books this year. Making Wolf is another book I can wholeheartedly recommend.Full Random Comments review
Tade Thompson took me by surprise with The Murders of Molly Southborne. It was a vivid story, told well, with a vivid main character and a fantastic premise. It was such an impressive story that I immediately tracked down the other books he had written and put them at the top of my to-read list. Making Wolf is the first of those, and Thompson's debut novel.The story is set in the fictional country of Alcacia in West Africa, where Weston Kogi returns for his aunt's funeral. He left when he was still a teenager, boarding a plane just as riots broke out across his country. His aunt was the one who got him out of the country, so he feels the obligation to return from London to pay his respects. While there, he makes a connection with an old schoolmate and bully who ropes him into investigating the death of a well-loved hero of Alcacia. Things slowly go from bad to worse, though, with Weston seeing first-hand the brutality of violence of living in this divided nation.The story itself is a noir crime thriller, with Weston being the investigator and Alcacia standing in for the darkened, gritty streets. The plot carries us forward, revealing itself pieces at a time, through betrayals, double-crosses, and intrigue, complete with the long-legged dames and characters with questionable morality. The story is modernized and relocated, and it feels like Thompson has things to say about Africa as perceived through the Western eye, but it's also a solid, page-turning crime thriller with a satisfying conclusion.Making Wolf feels like it could be the start of a series, but since the point of the story is Weston's character growth, it's hard to imagine there being anything else to tell. Thompson couldn't start over again with Weston, and there aren't any other characters in the book that could serve as the growth for a sequel. It's not an unfinished story by any means, but it does feel like there's more to tell. Were Thompson to write that book, I would read it because I admire his skills as a writer, and because I trust he would be able to find a way to make a sequel fresh.With all the Swedish crime thrillers that are populating the best-seller lists, there should be room for one more set in West Africa. Making Wolf is that book, and I think anyone looking for a well-told crime thriller, set in a new place, would do well to read it.
This is my inaugural submission to GoodReads out of my profound respect for this work. I cannot recall any book in recent history that I have enjoyed more than Making Wolf. As I have described to others, it is Sin City meets One Hundred Years of Solitude, set in an absurdist old-school detective story. To provide a little background of myself, during my younger years, I was a collector of the classic mystery writers. I had, until recently, over a hundred books from the greats of the Golden Age of detective fiction. A majority of these works were from Agatha Christie, Ellery Queen, Rex Stout, and John Dickson Carr. Because of this, I understand the patterns and tropes of the genre, and when someone creates a re-imagining of the form, I experience a joy and anticipation of things to come. This was the effect The Expanse television show had on me. Once I saw Detective Miller in his trilby hat, I innately understood the rhythms of how his story was to go, and I felt the same with Making Wolf.I found the book as I was looking for new authors, trying to find gems in debut novelists, and one of the awards I discovered was the Kitschies. The story concerns a man, Weston Kogi, who was raised in the African country of Alcacia for fifteen years before moving to England for the next fifteen. He returns home to Ede City for the funeral of a relative, and becomes embroiled in a murder investigation.My Sin Cityreference comes from the fact that every person in every industry is working an angle of some sort. Whether it is the police or airport officials or taxi drivers or government bureaucrats or the everyday man on the street, corruption is rife everywhere. To appreciate the writing and the level of hustling in this town, I offer two early examples:The taxi dropped me off at the Ede Merriot. The women loitering just outside were not guests. Only their smiles were free.And my favorite:The beggars mostly had self-inflicted wounds, which some Alcacians maintained in order to avoid work. Lost limbs, fly infested tsetse bites, massive tumors, each one had commercial value that made it unwise to seek medical treatment.Let me translate: people amputated body parts and let diseases fester because it made panhandling more profitable. That’s hardcore right there. I love shit like that.The feel of One Hundred Years of Solitude comes from the way the novel immerses one into a wonderful new world to which I hope the author returns. Tade Thompson’s previous writings seem primarily science fiction, and his background is similar as Weston’s was previously described, so I cannot tell if the culture and rituals are real or invention, and I honestly do not want to know. When Weston wants to interview a person about the murder, he is told that there is no need. The person in question swore he didn’t do it, and he said this while his hand was on placed on the horn of a bull, so that meant he could not have committed the crime. These touches create a flavor not seen in typical private eye tales.The absurdist part I referred to is best described in a spoiler that occurs early in the book. I don’t think this ruins the reading experience, but if one doesn’t wish to know, do not finish this paragraph and the next. (view spoiler)[Weston is a London security guard, and at the funeral, he is about to run into Churchill, his old neighborhood bully, who is now a hardened criminal. Weston wants to make sure Church leaves him alone during his short stay in Alcacia, so he informs Church that he is a British homicide detective, hoping that his being a cop will cause Church to steer clear.Unfortunately for Weston, Church had no interest in him at that moment. He was too busy trying to solve a problem his boss assigned him: finding someone to solve a beloved leader’s murder. (hide spoiler)]I can’t tell you how often this book cracked me up.My final rave is about the writing. Nearly every page had one sentence that I loved. My absolute favorite came during one of Weston’s kidnappings (apparently in this town, when someone wants to speak with you, they don’t call for an appointment). He was beaten and strung up nude in a room, where:Flies investigated my vicinity but left unimpressed.A classical mystery story in a fantastical world, and beautiful words to illustrate it. The characters felt more developed and real than in most books I’ve read, and the tale fluctuated between scenes of brutality and hilarity. Damn, I loved Making Wolf.
Stuff I Read - Making Wolf by Tade Thompson ReviewI'm not sure a book has ever gotten under my skin like this book. At turns lyrically beautiful and devastatingly brutal, this novel follows Weston Kogi, a man who grew up and is now returning to the fictional nation of Alcacia, a nation that resulted because of an altered history surrounding the Nigerian Civil War. Weston is a man a bit of touch with himself, a bit directionless. In London he lives a nondescript life as a security guard, but when he returns for the funeral of his aunt he tells people he is a detective for the Met, a lie that gets him drawn into a series of plots that forever change his life.The novel is about damage in many ways. The damage done by colonization of Africa by Europe. The damage people can do to each other intentionally and the damage people can do to each other without ever meaning to. Morality is all shades of gray in a place like Alcacia, where corruption is the lasting legacy of Europe, the bureaucracy that got left behind when the colonizers left and which are now propped up to benefit a few over a great many. And Weston is a victim of that bureaucracy more than once, is beaten and nearly killed, is witness to a man being ripped in half, to a number of atrocities that are treated as commonplace by most who live among them. Despite that, though, Weston remains a part of it, aspires not to escape his situation so much as to be at the top. It's a striking and gut-wrenching journey, and one that doesn't allow the reader the comfort of looking away.In many ways Weston is all that is wrong with Alcacia. A man who considers himself an outsider and yet who puts himself in the middle of everything. Who doesn't refuse when handed a pile of money and told to play along. Because, as terrible as the things are that happen to him, Weston believes in a sort of romantic, Western ideal where he's the hero of the story, where anything is forgiven or justified because he doesn't mean to do wrong. He convinces himself that he's doing more harm than good when by participating in the system and trying to game it in his favor he is very definitely participating in oppression, in the crimes he witnesses but doesn't want to be culpable of.In other words, the book is great at making forcing the reader to confront their own complicity in the horrors that go on every day. At least, it made me confront why I was rooting for Weston. It problematizes the idea of the hero, of the male detective solving crimes. Because in Alcacia everyone is guilty and no one is. Or, perhaps more accurately, everyone is a victim. A victim of crimes that have never been acknowledged and so can never truly be punished or healed from. The crimes of colonization which are still treated as matter of course. Without reconciliation, without some justice for the wrongs, the people left behind are still victimized, by corruption and the lingering influence of Europe and America.In other other words, this novel is an uncomfortable read. At the same time I found myself wanting to taste the food, wanting to see the sights, I was caught in the trap that Weston is, that of being an outsider and having an outsider's view of the situation, of the nation. And by seeing Alcacia through Weston's eyes, the reader is confronted with a filtered view. Weston's ultimate destiny, his choices, tumble further and further from sympathetic, until his every action is steeped in the same violence and suffering that he began wanting to avoid and stop. It's a powerful read, and for me an 8.75/10.
Dark and disturbing at times but I enjoyed it. I didn't think that the murder mystery was all that strong but the setting and the story that was going on around the mystery was very intense and provoking. The only real problem I had was that the scene jumped a couple of times. For example at one point the main character was on the beach and the very next sentence he was in an apartment. No page break or anything to indicate that the scene / location had changed. That happened a couple of times but I read the e-book version so maybe that was just some kind of formatting problem. Other than that I thought that it was well written and would recommend it to anyone looking for something a bit different. Don't forget the dark and disturbing though.
4.5 stars!dark, violent, brilliant and thought-provoking read.thompson brings the world alive through the protagonist's eyes.immersive and twisty and visceral, unlike any thriller you'veread in a long time. highly recommend!
Very interesting to read a book set in modern day Nigeria. I need to seek out more books that are non-US/UK authors.