About the Author
Peter Riva has spent many months over 30 years travelling throughout Africa and Europe. Much of this time was spent with the legendary guides for East African hunters and adventurers. He created a TV series in 1995 called Wild Things for Paramount. Passing on the fables, true tales, and insider knowledge of these last reserves of true wildlife is his passion. Nonetheless, his job for over forty years has been working as a literary agent. In his spare time, Riva writes science fiction and African adventure books. He lives in Gila, New Mexico.
About the Book
Every adventure starts at the fringes of civilization. For expert safari guide Mbuno and wildlife television producer Pero Baltazar, filming in the wild of East Africa should have been a return to the adventure they always loved. This time they’d be filming soaring vultures in northern Kenya and giant sea crocodiles in Tanzania with Mary, the daughter of the world’s top television evangelist, the very reverend Jimmy Threte.
But when a terrorist cell places them in the crosshairs, there is suddenly no escape and they must put their filming aside and combine all their talents to thwart an all-out al-Shabaab terrorist attack on Jimmy Threte’s Christian gathering of hundreds of thousands in Nairobi, Kenya.
Having lived on the continent for quite a number of years but not as either a wildlife television producer or a clandestine courier for the United States government like main protagonist Pero Baltazar, there is a lot in Peter Riva’s thriller Murder on Safari that made me smile. For one, the airport arrival scene at the beginning of the book was vey well described, so much so that some of the sensations typically associated with the airports on the continent I had the opportunity to visit came to mind. Another detail that made me smile were the dealings with locals. More specifically, the cultural differences and the way visitors have to adapt to local customs that might brand us as rude at home were reminders of the delicate dance that is interacting with others.
Just like with The Path and Reaching Angelica, this book is very well-written. Without revealing anything—trust me, you do not want any spoilers!—the plot is first engaging then slowly becomes gripping. You have been warned, you might stay up at night to get through some of the tenser sections.
Something that I have come to dislike in more mainstream, mass-produced thrillers is how the plot is almost watered down, the book instead filled with emotional ploys to keep readers captivated. Reading those books really feels at times like eating junk food—you can’t stop eating but end up dissatisfied. Just like with what he did with science-fiction in his abovementioned two other books that I have read, author Riva does not in any way dilute his story in this way. He does generate intense emotions in his readers but the good old-fashioned way: through a tightly weaved plot filled with unexpected but realistic—within the context of the story—twists and turns. Completing the book is extremely satisfying and might take some time to digest before going on to another book—which, for me, is a sign of a good book well worth reading.
I personally didn’t find as much in this book to reflect on as I did in The Path and Reaching Angelica, but as an author and avid reader, enjoyed the tight writing and detailed, evocative descriptions. Perhaps for someone who has never been to Africa, this book might open up their minds, to a certain extent, to some aspects of life in a specific part of that continent; but mainly this is a book meant to get your heart-pumping, which is does very well.
First published on Sahar’s Blog on 5 May 2016