BOOK: Twisted Times, Son of Man
AUTHOR: Vincent de Paul
FIRST PUBLISHED: 2015
PUBLISHER: Mystery Publishers via the CreateSpaceIndependent Publishing
BOOK REVIEW: Twisted Times, Son of Man by Vincent de Paul
Vincent is a Kenyan author and blogger whose love for writing can be seen through his works. His first book, ‘First Words’ won Nairobi International Book Fair in 2010. He has written a couple of poems too, which have been published on various online platforms.
The Book; Twisted Times, Son of Man starts with a lady, Shannon in hospital. She’s being urged by a nurse to ‘push’. One can tell she’s about to give birth.
Fast forward 18 years later, we are introduced to a new character, ken. He is meeting with his Uncle Job, and father. His uncle job wants him to work for him. Ken doesn’t want to work for the uncle but to go to the university to study. Ken suspects his uncle deals in dirty businesses thus doesn’t want to be part of it. He then storms out of the room leaving his dad and uncle astonished. The father wanted Ken to work for his uncle but Ken was against it. His dream was to go to university. Ken had lost brother from retinoblastoma; cancer of the eye.
It was in Campus where his friend, Arnold Kimani introduced him to a man who needed a transporter. The man, Urbanus was the student leader in the University’s student Organization and also the boss. That was the beginning of Ken’s journey as a Casket robber. Ken, Arnold and others would visit cemeteries in Nairobi, dig up the graves and steal coffins from the dead. They would steal coffins from public cemeteries in to private homes, they travelled throughout the country, attending funerals and acting as mourners, but their main target would be the casket the deceased would be buried in. When he was starting, Ken aka Son of Man felt like it was not morally correct to rob coffins. Stealing from the dead is something he didn’t think he could one day engage in. Joining the Mavis Gang however, the crew that robbed coffins changed him. He no longer feared grave yards, or the dead. Ken no longer had a conscience. Coffin merchants, morgue attendants and undertakers would help them in the stealing and in return, the Mavis Gang would leave them tips.
For some time, Ken, Urbanus and the others in the gang stopped stealing caskets and resulted to hijacking and kidnapping. They would be paid to attack business rivals, political bickers or vengeful wives. They would pose as highway robbers or hijackers, but the actual job was to kill the high profiled figures in the country.
There was this one time where Son of Man and his gang had stolen a coffin in Nakuru. While transporting it to Nairobi, the cops stopped their truck and Ken’s friends ran away, leaving only Ken in the truck. Trying to hide from the cops, Ken got in the casket they had stolen so the cops would assume he was a corpse. I couldn’t help but wonder how eerie one would feel being the occupant of a casket while still alive. Forget that the casket had previously carried another dead person.
Apart from being a criminal, Ken also loved several women. He had a string of lovers , a Casanova of some sort. Ken had a no-strings attached relationship with a lecturer at the university, Peggy Edison, an online lover and a married woman who was a banker, He had other lovers too, From Kate to Trizer to various women whose names he did not reveal. The author tells the escapades Ken had with these and other women.
Twisted Times, Son of Man, is an intriguing story about a young man, who just in his first year at the university, was introduced to the world of crime by a friend. The author tackles issues like poverty, as Ken, the main character didn’t come from a well off family. His father was a drunkard, who didn’t make much. This shows another theme talked of in the book; Alcoholism in families. It is poverty which made him agree to be part of the Mavis Gang, for he needed money to sustain him in campus, money which was so difficult to come by.
Religion is also talked of in the book. Ken, a staunch crook would later change his ways, and turn over a new leaf. The church helps ken, whose world had crushed due to his previous activities. The book is such a gripping read, as you are taken through Ken’s life. It is so enthralling that it is almost impossible to stop once you start on the first chapter. The activities in Ken’s life, his acquaintances, encounters and evil deeds kept me glued on the words, that I for some time, I lost contact with the real world and lived in the book’s time. It is a book I’d recommend to anyone who is into crime fiction and drama.