Laughing Monsters by Denis Johnson
Roland Nair, who has worked (is possibly still working for?), NATO intelligence returns to Africa to meet his well-connected (at least in his own mind) friend Michael Adriko. Sierra Leone hasn’t changed much since his last visit, but Nair has changed. Nair comes to Africa with an agenda that he keeps hidden from his friend Michael, and it looks like Michael may have a hidden agenda of his own.
If you need to be reminded of how corrupt and alien the workings of Africa are compared to the law and order we are used to this book brings it all right to the fore. Between illegal border crossings easily come by for a fee, backroom dealings for goods of any kind, the sporadic available electricity, not to mention the colorful characters, the world Nair and Adriko inhabit comes vividly to life. This is a spy thriller where the goals of each character are revealed in small doses and we don’t know the full extent of the wishes of anyone.
The reader does a wonderful job with the accents, dialects and characterizations for this story. I may not have enjoyed the book reading it, I’m not completely sure, but I sure loved listening to it.