Nice—real name, Theresa—has just arrived Nairobi airport where she will be picked up by her old friend, Duncan, an American pastor for a small evangelical denomination. Duncan cannot know that Nice is fleeing her life choices, and her UN job in Mogadishu. She believes she is too innocent-looking, too nice, for anyone to suspect that she is mulling drugs.
But Nice has not contended with her drug-dealer Somali boyfriend having an associate in the Kenya Police Service. Duncan’s car crashes on the way back from the airport. Duncan awakes after the car crash, to find himself captive to the sociopathic policeman, Hinga, and the charmingly amoral Ciru. Nice is gone. Plucked from his expat bubble, Duncan must plunge into the moral complexities of the under-city to get Nice back. But how deep can Duncan go, without destroying his faith, and himself?
A lawyer and co-founder of a successful fintech startup, Akbar Hussain lived in Nairobi for 7 years and currently resides in New York.
“Hussain’s earnest debut dramatizes the fraught social and economic circumstances of modern-day East Africa.”
“ A deftly crafted and riveting read from first page to last, "Truth Is A Flightless Bird" by novelist Akbar Hussain is an impressively written crime thriller with more unexpected twists and turns that a Coney Island roller coaster. The stuff of which movies are made (and this one is soon to be a major television series), "Truth Is A Flightless Bird" is highly recommended, especially for community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists of suspense/thriller fans that "Truth Is A Flightless Bird" is also available in a digital book format.
- Midwest Book Review
"It's a wonderful read - a genre I'm not very familiar with, but I enjoyed very much. I also gave a shout-out to the Press, which I think is doing admirable (and necessary) work."
- “Getting Lit with Linda” (podcast)
"Truth Is a Flightless Bird is a compelling thriller that blends literary and noir elements into a harrowing character study of three flawed people in blind pursuit of an unobtainable future."
- John M. Murray, Forward Review
“Truth is a Flightless Bird is an intriguing mystery about the drugs trade and the people caught up in it. It’s a fascinating insight into Nairobi, from the vibrant rich quarters to the poverty ridden streets… There’s a strong story here, grounded, at times in some shocking insights. The setting, mostly Nairobi, is brilliantly observed… Akbar Hussain is very good at demonstrating how for people will go for the promise of a better life.”
~Crime fiction lover
“This novel was a breathless rush from beginning to end. I can see how this would make a fantastic television series…Truth is a Flightless Bird is a fantastic novel of place. It gives the reader a view into a world most of us will never get to see or experience in person…”
~Dr JoAnn LoSavio
“With its intriguing title, Truth is a Flightless Bird by Akbar Hussain is a debut literary fiction novel. It is set in Nairobi just prior to an imminent American Presidential visit by Barack Obama…Its easy-flowing narrative captures the ambiance of Nairobi and its machinations played out in this enjoyable tale.”
“US President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit and Nairobi is abuzz. But the real story for us is related via several characters: Nice, Duncan, Ciru, and Toogood. All of them in difficult circumstances, all of them connected in some way to the illegal drug trade. With their stories, comes the story of two cities, and much about the culture within. You are transplanted to the unsavoury parts of the drug world, good and bad. Much like the characters, also not all bad and not all good.”
- June Lorraine Roberts, Murder in Common
The prose is short, quick, and not really my type. However, I think the subject is relevant. Thus the 5-star rating.
—5 stars, Mahogany Mahogany - Educator