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Instruments of Darkness by Robert Wilson

Instruments of Darkness (edition 1999)

by Robert Wilson

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183664,645 (3.59)12
Title:Instruments of Darkness
Authors:Robert Wilson
Info:HarperCollins (1999), Edition: (Reissue), Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, crime, west africa

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Instruments of Darkness by Robert Wilson



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Showing 5 of 5
This book is about Bruce Medway a European in West Africa working as a "fixer". His job is to find a missing expat, a trader in sheanut oil, who hasn't appeared for work with his local boss. The story follows Medway on his journey through Benin, Togo and Ghana where the author describes bustling cities and shady underworld dealings and politics. While the book is a good mystery it was at first a bit slow going. I personally, found the first 90 pages to have too much description and attempts to turn a clever phrase that I almost gave up reading on two separate attempts. Eventually, the story shifts into another gear and I felt the descriptions and characterizations fulfilled a purpose. the characters seemed less flat than in the first half and I could now feel more of a connection with them and the mystery that was unfolding on the page. Overall, if you like mysteries about shady business practices and shady people set in exotic locations it is worth a read. ( )
  SUS456 | Aug 5, 2015 |
If there is one series where heat envelops the reader it is in Robert Wilson’s West Africa series featuring Bruce Medway, a British expatriate who lives in Benin, but travels back and forth across the armpit of Africa, as it is called, because there are several counties nestling closely under the arm of the continent as it juts out into the Atlantic. Medway is a fixer; a facilitator who tries to make a living by helping people out, providing they are not criminals. Unfortunately, he doesn’t exactly have a good nose for scenting out who are the good guys.

The first in the series is Instruments of Darkness, and Bruce starts out simply trying to facilitate the sale of some rice, but ends up looking for another Englishman who was working in the shea butter trade and is missing. Benin, Ghana and Togo are in turmoil, and Medway has to stay on the right side of the law, which fluctuates day by day.

The stories in Wilson’s African quartet are fast-paced, occasionally violent, but there are flashes of humor to temper it. Wilson has a way with descriptions that resonated with me and I recall them from time to time because they are so apt, like the girl with the sputnik hair. Sometimes it is so hot, the people move at a slow pace, and the vultures look at each other as if to say "Dinner soon." ( )
  Condorena | Apr 2, 2013 |
I've had all the Bruce Medway books for going on 10 years now, plus I've been buying other Robert Wilson books, but until now I hadn't read any of them. I'd started Instruments of Darkness a couple of times in the past but it never really grabbed me (even this time I set it down for a week or so and read a couple of other books, but I was determined to finish it as I was finally getting more interested in the story and characters). So, long story short, it's a little slow at the beginning while characters and setting are being established, but the pay-off from this book is enormous. The Medway character is nicely hard-boiled, the dialogue is great, and the descriptive phrases used by Wilson truly shine. I'm eager to read more of Robert Wilson's books and, luckily, I've got lots of them on-hand already.

This book has earned a solid ( )
  bookstothesky | Oct 20, 2011 |
This first entry in a series of mysteries starring Bruce Medway is a fairly straight-forward hard-boiled mystery. Where "straight-forward" means a tangle of multiple cases that end up being all connected together, a number of dangerous women, lots of sex being talked about if not actually had, enough whiskey to poison a small village, and a hero who is more lucky than clever.

I liked it more for how I know the characters are going to change over the following books, than for anything inherent in this one. Except the language. The language of Wilson's prose is marvelous. ( )
  storyjunkie | Dec 20, 2008 |
  Rose-Marie | Dec 14, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0156011131, Paperback)

From the author of the national bestseller A Small Death in Lisbon and The Company of Strangers comes Wilson's compelling first novel, never before available in the United States. Bruce Medway's existence as a fixer and troubleshooter had been tough, but never life-threatening until he crossed paths with the mighty Madame Severnou. His life becomes even more complicated by his search for a missing fellow expat, Steven Kershaw. Against a backdrop of political disruption and endemic official corruption, Medway pursues the elusive phantom of Kershaw.
Instruments of Darkness powerfully evokes the atmosphere, politics, and people of West Africa. With Medway's ironic voice, flashes of humor that may recall Raymond Chandler, and unforgettable characters, this compulsively readable thriller is the beginning of a remarkable series.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:08 -0400)

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"Meet British expatriate Bruce Medway, a "fixer" for traders in an unwelcoming part of Africa once known as the White Man's Grave. Medway's work is tough, but never life-threatening - until he crosses paths with the mighty Madame Severnou. And the situation becomes even stickier when he is called to search for Steven Kershaw, a missing fellow expat. Against a backdrop of political disruption and endemic official corruption, Medway learns that nothing in Africa is what it seems and that those who seek the truth find out more than they wish to know."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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