On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the brilliant debut novel by Femi Kayode, Lightseekers.
They already know who killed the men. What they don’t know is why.
When three young students are brutally murdered in a Nigerian university town, their killings – and their killers – are caught on social media. The world knows who murdered them; what no one knows is why.
As the legal trial begins, investigative psychologist Philip Taiwo is contacted by the father of one of the boys, desperate for some answers to his son’s murder. But Philip is an expert in crowd behaviour and violence, not a detective, and after travelling to the sleepy university town that bore witness to the killings, he soon realises that someone really doesn’t want him there and will do anything to prevent him learning the truth.
Will he uncover what really happened to the Okiri Three?
Lightseekers is a brilliant debut by Femi Kayode. He has crafted a stunning novel with a real sense of place. I was pulled into this book from the first page and it was so engrossing and it felt really fresh as well.
We are introduced to psychologist Philip Taiwo who has travelled to Nigeria to investigate the deaths of three young boys. It is a case which has been brushed under the carpet but the boy’s families believe that there is something more to uncover here. It is Philips job to uncover the reasons why the boys were killed and hopefully provide some answers for their family.
When Philip Taiwo lands in Nigeria it seems as though there is uneasiness in the air. Femi Kayode explores the tensions between Muslims and Christians in Nigeria in his book, which for me, made for really enlightening reading. I don’t know an awful lot about Nigeria, but Femi Kayode’s writing really made me feel as though I was there, experiencing the conflicts between its people and also the landscape as well. This also adds to the tension that is there throughout the book, simmering away in the background. It also creates a real sense of foreboding, especially as Philip tries to piece together what was going on behind the scenes here.
Philip was a really interesting and likeable character. He has just recently returned from the United States and so has become accustomed to their way of living. He knows he has a tough task ahead of him but you can also see that he is determined to do his best to give the victim’s families answers. You can see that his doing this for the families and not himself. But soon, Philip finds himself very close to danger. This creates a lot of tension in the book which makes it really gripping as well. I had no idea how things were going to unfold for Philip and I wanted him to find the answers he was looking for.
There are a number of shady characters in the book who Philip is introduced to after he arrives in Nigeria. They each add to the sense of mystery in the novel. I really liked the friendship that develops between Philip and Chika, who picks him up from the airport, but who soon plays a much bigger role in the story.
Lightseekers is an utterly compelling read. Philip is a lead character who you will be rooting for right from the first moment when you are first introduced to him. I will definitely be reading what Femi Kayode writes next.
Publisher: Raven Books
Publication date: 4th February 2021
Print length: 414 pages
Lightseekers is available to buy: