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Instruments of Darkness Paperback – July 1, 2003


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Instruments of Darkness + The Big Killing (Bruce Medway Mysteries, No. 2) + Blood Is Dirt (Bruce Medway Mysteries, No. 3)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

PRAISE FOR INSTRUMENTS OF DARKNESS

"A witty, fast-moving and picaresque tale . . . peopled by deliciously shady characters."--Nelson DeMille

"An atmospheric and absorbing debut ... Vividly paints a credible picture of a world I know almost nothing about. Now I feel I've been there." --Val McDermid

PRAISE FOR THE COMPANY OF STRANGERS:

"An espionage thriller of the first order--complex, exotic, romantic."--San Francisco Chronicle

PRAISE FOR A SMALL DEATH IN LISBON:

"A taut international thriller."--Time

About the Author

ROBERT WILSON is the author of numerous novels, including The Company of

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt; 1st edition (July 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156011131
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156011136
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,304,429 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
"This is Africa, where everybody has mastered the art of waiting." Wilson's first African mystery/suspense novel, introduces Bruce Medway, a fixer, negotiator, and manager who lives on the coast of West Africa and does the odd service for his expatriate clients.
Completing a shipping deal at the docks, one that involves transporting rice across state borders illegally, Medway incurs the wrath of the infamous Madame Severnou when he unknowingly conducts the transaction contrary to her wishes. The well-connected woman sends her armed goons on a midnight visit to teach Medway a lesson. Luckily, he is one step ahead of the game and anticipates the attack.
The next morning, Medway is hired to find a missing person, Stephen Kershaw, perhaps to draw his attention from the real implications of the Severnou deal. Kershaw has disappeared, leaving a dead woman behind. In the course of his investigation, and tangentially the murder, Medway meets one of the series' most endearing characters, the noble Inspector Bogado. A wily and subtle police detective, Bogado proves indispensable to Medway, in this novel and future works. His solemn physiognomy a familiar presence, Bogado offers his intelligent perspective and enduring friendship, often appearing just in the nick of time. Medway and Bagado sift through clues and half-truths, searching for answers to complex and intertwining mysteries with improbable solutions.
Medway is involved with some hard-drinking expats who walk the thin edge of the law. In the murky business affairs of West Africa, expediency is the bottom line. From Medway's first deal, moving rice into Nigeria, to the second, searching for a man who turns up dead, the situations become more convoluted and dangerous, involving illegal drug shipments, murder and police corruption.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Hallinan on June 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
Robert Wilson is a writer whose other thrillers I've read with interest, but this one took me someplace I've never been before and kept me there for every one of its 300 and some pages. This is an Africa I didn't know existed in fiction and one I can't wait to return to, so I'm personally delighted to learn that there are three other books featuring "fixer" Bruce Medway waiting for me.

The setting is very much a character in the book -- its sounds, smells, heat, colors, and moral equivocation animate every scene. This is a world in which right and wrong are luxuries, and the real dividing line is between survival and destruction. The layered approach and the complexity of the characters puts this in Graham Greene territory, and that's as high a compliment as I know how to pay. (it also reminds me a little of William Boyd's wonderful "Brazzaville Beach, which also has an African setting.)

And it's funnier than hell in places. If you're looking for something fresh, something that challenges you a little but delivers mightily for your efforts, get "Instruments of Darkness."
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
I hesistated between 3 and 4 stars. The author has a deep knowledge of the region and people. Delving into the protagonist's mindset was thoroughly enjoyable.
Wilson has enough analogies in this book to fill several novels. They're great, but there's just too much. The book is a murder mystery at some level. The premise and the high level plot is pretty good, but the story ties together at the end messily. Very James Bond / Desmond Bagley-like. You know -- tidy it all up with the bad guys volunteering all the missing pieces to the good guy.
I recommend this book for the West African setting and its substantial, grey characters. This is my first Wilson book; I would read another.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. Martin on July 31, 2004
Format: Paperback
There is no denying that the author knows his stuff. The setting and characters were fascinating. My problem though was that I continually found myself distracted by the overuse of adjectives and misplaced modifiers. The narrative was overcrowded with metaphors and similies. I felt like I was swimming through tangled seaweed sometimes and wanted to edit sentences that seemed to so full of themselves with descriptives. Most annoying about this were that so many phrases were tacked on to the end of sentences without proximity to the nouns they were intended to modified. Other than this, I liked the book and will read another by the author.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Simon Crowe on July 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
Robert Wilson's INSTRUMENTS OF DARKNESS is the first in a series of mysteries set in Africa featuring a white British character named Bruce Medway. Medway does odd jobs for a collection of eccentric Africans operating on both sides of the law. The plot is so baroque as to be almost incomprehensible, but what's really going on is lots of atmosphere. Wilson knows Africa and he gets the details right....Much darker than the No. 1 Detective Agency books, will appeal to fans of Le Carre, Graham Greene, etc.....Funny and exciting, lively 1st person narration.....recommended....
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was a diplomat in Benin in the mid-1970's and found this and its sibling books very evocative. West Africa has grown more modern, more populated and seedier than it was then, but a reader will,get the feeling of the Third World, where few of the stated (though often violated) ethical norms of the Western World concerning corruption and the work ethic apply. The author also accurately depicts a beguiling region with charming people who can capture the heart of many visitors and give one reasons for wanting to stay longer.

The plot is overly convoluted--the subsequent books are less contrived-- but this is a good adventure book. Worth buying
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