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The Big Killing
  “If I come across as original and blackly funny a thriller again this year, I'll feel myself double blest.”
Vincent Banville. Irish Times.

Bruce Medway, freelance fixer and negotiator, is stuck in the Ivory Coast waiting on his master's pleasure, drinking too much and having dangerous ideas, with no Heike or Bagado to save him. When Fat Paul, a porn merchant, persuades him to make an unusual delivery of a video and a friend from the old country asks him to chaperone a young diamond dealer, Bruce sees cash, expenses and possibilities writ large.

The video drop goes terrifyingly wrong and, while the bodies are piling up across the border in Liberia, the diamond dealer takes a nasty fall leaving Bruce empty-handed. The brutal current of events sucks him one way: down the jungle roads to where the vultures are gathered under the dark clouds of the Liberian civil war. Here, too, there are men with needs: money, information, action and power. And unless Bruce can unravel their ugly game he will rapidly join the deepest darkness there is.

No. 2 in the Bruce Medway series.

Blood diamonds
This book is set in the Ivory Coast (Côte d'Ivoire) which then, for Africa, was a stable country with a functioning economy and a capital city, Abidjan, that was unimaginably wealthy. However, it's next door to Liberia where, at the time, a brutal civil war was taking place in which the horror had reached surreal proportions. One of the storylines for this book came from a diamond trader I met in London who told me about a journey he'd made to buy diamonds in a place called Tortiya in the north of the Ivory Coast. I was very taken with his description of an endless trip to get there to find himself tramping through the filthy streets of an African village to a container that was linked up to a couple of generators. Inside he found a perfectly kept diamond room that could have come straight out of his offices in Antwerp.

This book is my favourite of the whole series because it is the most African. The real and the surreal occupy the same dimension. Strange people float in and out of Bruce's world. It's something I noticed while in Africa that foreigners could become absurd stereotypes of their own countrymen, as if they were acting out some role that might stop them from feeling desperately homesick. It's a book that I would have liked to have called The Heart of Darkness had the title not already been taken by Joseph Conrad.

304 pages
HarperCollins Publishers Ltd; New Ed edition (15 Nov 1999)
ISBN-10 0006513891
ISBN-13 978-0006513896