Book review: A Dancer In The Dust

This starts off as a simple whodunit: New York risk assessor, Ray Campbell, learns that a man he once knew in the fictional African country of Lubanda has been found dead outside a New York hotel.

A Dancer In The Dust

Thomas H Cook

Head of Zeus, €18.75; ebook, €6.01

Ray turns detective to find out why the man was in the US, but the novel’s richness comes from his memories of being an aid worker two decades before, in particular his relationship with white Lubandan, Martine.

What follows is a critique of the effect of Western aid, the naivete of ’doing good’ and the insidiousness of racism, all of which are more interesting than the murder mystery.

Established US writer Cook is known for being experimental, and this latest effort occupies the very edge of the crime genre.


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