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The Crack Magazine

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Gaslight by Femi Kayode

Femi Kayode made a real splash with his debut novel ‘Lightseekers’, which was selected by The Times, Independent, the Guardian and plenty of other outlets as their ‘Best Crime Novel of the Month’ when it was published in 2021. It was also longlisted for the prestigious CWA Gold Dagger Award. The book introduced readers to Philip Taiwo – a criminal psychologist – who was tasked with finding out why three young students were brutally murdered in a Nigerian university town. ‘Gaslight’ is the eagerly awaited follow-up. It begins with Philip Taiwo’s sister getting in touch with him to request his services. It transpires that Folsade, the ‘First Lady’ of her church, has gone missing and she wants to get to the bottom of the mystery. Folsade is the wife of Bishop Dawodu. But when Dawodu (just “Bishop” to his flock) is arrested for her murder, tensions are ratcheted up a notch. Is the formidable and all-powerful Bishop behind her disappearance? The police certainly think so, especially when they uncover blood spatters inside his house. Femi Kayode certainly knows his clinical psychologist onions (he trained as one), but he doesn’t overburdened ‘Gaslight’ with a whole bunch of perplexing jargon. Instead, he infuses this exciting tale with plenty of intrigue and knows the value of a decent narrative rug-pull. He also knows when to hit that all-important ‘Action!’ button when he wants to ramp up the tension. And in Philip Taiwo, he’s given us a well-rounded character who has lots of other things going on in his life, not least a daughter who, after previously living in the US, is finding it hard to settle into her new Nigerian school. RM

Raven Books

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