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See why Kirkus Reviews calls this book “a thought-provoking, singularly strange and absorbing novel.”
- “A desperate villager’s quest to become Zimbabwe’s newest executioner kicks off this intriguing debuthorror novel involving man-eating plants, organ harvesting and other uncanny oddities.
- “A disconcerting parable exploded to epic proportions. The author renders its many characters, from the mad genius responsible for the impending botanic apocalypse, to the prostitute/undercover operative who falls in love with Abel, to the seemingly simple Abel himself, with frightening subtlety and detail. One member of the elite, called Doll Eyes, is described as follows: ‘Planted into the lower part of his skull was a jaw of menacing proportions. If someone ever tied to mug him at gunpoint, all he had to do was clench it. This alone would demoralize the robber.’ The boughs of this arboreal shocker threaten to creak under the weight of its ever-mounting plot, but they never quite crack. Instead, readers are left wondering just how deep the roots go.”
If you had to interview the candidates for a country’s new hangman, what questions would you ask them? If your family was on the verge of starvation, and becoming a hangman was the only job available, would you apply? If you were hired, what would you do if the prisoners looked like your loved ones? But what if you knew that a good man was pursuing the job out of desperation, would you do anything to prevent him from getting it? And if that man’s recruitment would somehow guarantee your own survival, would you encourage his candidacy? All these questions were asked of people who never thought they would find themselves in such a position, until they became mired in the chaos surrounding the hangman’s replacement.
Zimbabwe’s last hangman retired in 2004. As the nation drifted towards abolition, no determined effort was made to find a replacement. However, the discovery of carnivorous flame lilies at the Great Zimbabwe national monument triggered a spirited search for a new executioner. Those who know why this discovery energized the recruitment effort refused to talk.
The frantic attempts to find a new hangman were impeded by the lack of suitable candidates. Well-placed sources confirmed that the fear of ngozi was a deterrent. According to this traditional belief, the spirit of a murdered person torments the killer and his family for generations. This is only half the story. Several promising applicants did come forward. None met the minimum requirements for the job. The selection criteria were designed to exclude the mentally ill, the vindictive, and the sadistic. However, they did not rule out the desperate.
This is the story of the aspiring hangman who was obsessed with securing the job; the sympathizers who fought to protect him from his prize; and the anxious men who believed that emptying death row would end their horror before the meat-eating plants constricted around their necks.
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(This is a sponsored post.)