Sneak preview of Nick Brownlee's new novel SNAKEPIT

Sneak preview of Nick Brownlee's new novel SNAKEPIT

Posted by in Fiction

If you like your crime thrillers ‘intriguing’, ‘captivating’, ‘brimming with action’, ‘pacy’ and filled with ‘sensational plot twists’  . . . then look no further!

This is what the critics have said about Nick Brownlee's previous novels:

‘Fast-moving and thought-provoking with a nail-biting climax’ Guardian

‘Absorbing and entertaining’ Times

‘Superb . . . A fast-paced thriller that brings the real Kenya to life’ Bookbag

The latest instalment in the Jake and Jouma series, Snakepit, takes our heroes on their most dangerous adventure yet:

Kidnapped by pirates – it’s a race to survive . . .

It’s been a hell of a year, and for Detective Inspector Daniel Jouma and his friend,  ex-policeman Jake Moore, a fishing trip together represents some long-overdue down time. As usual, trouble is not far behind; and when the two men are kidnapped at sea by a gang of murderous Somalis they find themselves held hostage on board a ship run by notorious pirate Omar Abdulle.

To stay alive they must pool all their accumulated expertise first to catch a killer – and then to survive on the run in Somalia itself, a lawless land of cut-throats and bandits known as the Snakepit of Africa. As the hunters close in on their prey Jake and Jouma embark on a terrifying race for their lives – one in which the stakes are quite simply a matter of life or death.

If that's whet your appetite, here's a sneak preview:

When the crack of the gunshot had faded, and the dead man had finally stopped twitching on the deck, his executioner hawked with a noise like bubbling tar and spat contemptuously into his startled face. Now there were just two men on their knees waiting to die in the broiling midday sun: the men from the fishing boat – and from his perch high on the superstructure of the ship the boy called Jalil waited to see which of them the great Omar Abdulle would choose to kill first.

Others were waiting, too. The crew of the Kanshish had emerged like rats from the vessel’s hold and the tarpaulin shanties on deck to watch the executions, and a frantic exchange of dollar bills had already begun. Jalil could hear their excited jabbering, had been deafened by the firing of their weapons, and he knew that the smart money was on the Kenyan policeman. He shifted uncomfortably on the baking asphalt roof. It was all very strange. Not for the first time, he wondered what had gone so terribly wrong that morning that meant they had to die.

Below him on the blood-soaked deck, Omar stood in front of the two men, his face impassive, moving his gun from one hand to the other as he decided who to kill first. The crew began agitating excitedly, and Jalil, no stranger to violence in the short time he had been aboard the Kanshish, felt his heart thudding in his chest.

He was eight years old and short for his age, with a palsied left leg that he’d had from birth. Normally he would wear a calliper, but he hated the unwieldy leather and metal contraption and took it off at every opportunity. Not only was it uncomfortable to wear, it drew unwelcome attention to his disability. Jalil knew he could not walk unaided without it, yet when he wore it he felt like a cripple. Up here, on the highest point of the ship’s superstructure, fifty feet above the freighter’s deck, was the one place he felt free from constraint.

He looked down at the two men again. How different they were, the white-skinned English skipper and the quietly-spoken little detective from Mombasa. It seemed strange that they should be friends when they appeared to have so little in common, and Jalil wondered how they had met.

One thing they shared was courage. Neither man had been reduced to begging for their lives. Their eyes were fixed defiantly on the deck as they waited to die; and as the crowd began to bay and the great Omar Abdulle levelled his gun Jalil hoped that, when his time came, he would face death in the same way.

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