REVIEW: Easy Motion Tourist by Leye Adenle

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Read this book for: gritty, dark thriller, strong female heroine, political and cultural themes, violence, original and unique work

Quick Review: Gritty, gripping, and hard to put down, EASY MOTION TOURIST delves into the dark side of Lagos, with a narrative structure that feels fresh and an incredibly immersive atmosphere. A welcome twist on the contemporary thriller.


British journalist Guy Collins is in over his head. After witnessing the dumping of a body that has apparently been part of a ritual killing, he is picked up by police as a suspect, then rescued by Amaka – a woman trying to single-handedly change the lives of hundreds of women working as prostitutes. He’s swept along in her wake, lost and out of his depth, while trying to keep them both from being killed by the powerful enemies that Amaka is up against.

EASY MOTION TOURIST by Leye Adenle is a fast-paced thriller with several interesting twists on the genre. Set in contemporary Lagos, the story centres around a one-woman crusade to protect and empower the many women working as prostitutes in the city.

I say “centres around”, because the actual plot is much more complex than that. Drawing in officials, police, foreigners, criminals, the story twists and turns its way to its conclusion, touching many of the profitable criminal enterprises and creating a fascinatingly tangled piece.

That plot was really a highlight of the novel for me. While many novels use multiple narrators to tell a story, EASY MOTION TOURIST gave one the sense that you were actually just following the story where it led. It was the narrative that was taking you to each of the characters, rather than the reader just receiving the story from the set narrators. Somehow, this made the already satisfyingly complicated plot that much more intriguing, because it was so clearly the driver for the novel. I cannot remember the last time I have had a reading experience like this, and I have to credit Adenle for really creating a gripping piece of fiction, even if we only were talking about the plot!

Luckily, there are several other great attributes about this novel – interesting characters, action, surprise – but I wanted to especially highlight the atmosphere in this novel. The writing is dark, close and humid; you can not only picture the locations and actions but also feel them through the vivid writing. I really enjoyed the diversity and contrast of settings – ultra-rich Victoria Island against several places inhabited by gangs, leafy suburban areas versus industrial settings. It’s an intriguing look at many facets of Lagos, as well as adding a rich backdrop to an already great novel.

EASY MOTION TOURIST is well worth the read; it is refreshingly different, exciting, and will pull you in with its interesting plot and highly-textured atmosphere.

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