City of Saints and Angels is an exciting thriller featuring an indomitable sixteen year old thief named Tina AKA Tiny Girl. She’s a Congolese refugee in Kenya, an expert thief in the Goondas street gang. She is about to achieve her dream of vengeance in the form of dirt, money, and blood.
The night before her mother was murdered, she saw her mother’s lover and employer, Mr. Greybill threaten to kill her. The leader of the Goondas, Mr. Omoko has mentored and guided her career and her plan for vengeance. Dirt as in scandal to destroy his name, money as in electronically stripping him of everything, and then and only then, taking the final revenge by killing him.
However, during her break-in to download the data from his computer, she is caught by her childhood friend, Mr. Greybill’s son Michael, her sister’s half-brother. Michael is certain her father is innocent and reveals that there is a video of her mothers murder. He gets her to agree to investigate the murder with fresh eyes in exchange for not handing her over to security.
The story takes her to Congo, along with her hacker friend BoyBoy and Michael to find out more about her past and her mother. This is all complicated by the violent militias, gun smugglers and corrupt mining companies. The story is full of danger, intrigue, and corruption.
This is an exciting story with characters who are smart and capable. There is the usual, very human, failure to share information that would help solve, but otherwise, Tina, Michael, and BoyBoy are smart. The mystery is fair. The suspense is real.
The author, Natalie C. Anderson, works in international development and has worked in Kenya on refugee issues. This experience gives authenticity to the story. Her interest in refugee issues and the causes of war in the Congo are the lifeblood of this story. There is a passion for justice that comes through loud and clear. I enjoyed the novel. It is a Young Adult novel. Some people may think some of the events such as rape, torture, and warfare are inappropriate for young people to read about. As to that, what happens to the people of the Congo is so much more inappropriate.
City of Saints and Angels will be published on January 24, 2017. I received an advance e-galley from First to Read.