cover image Believers and Hustlers

Believers and Hustlers

Sylva Nze Ifedigbo. Iskanchi, $24 trade paper (360p) ISBN 978-1-957810-02-7

Nigerian author Ifedigbo (My Mind Is No Longer Here) brilliantly captures the politics and culture of his country in this enthralling mystery. Ifenna, an idealistic newspaper journalist, is assigned to report on the opening of the Heaven’s Gate Cathedral, the new global headquarters of the Rivers of Joy Church, in Lagos. A passing reference to a tragedy leads him to investigate the church’s charismatic leader, Pastor Nick (aka Daddy Founder). When another cleric, Pastor Felix Azinge, was visiting the cathedral during its construction a year earlier, he’d fallen to his death. The official story was that Azinge died accidentally after stepping on a loose platform, and Pastor Nick informed the media, including Ifenna’s employer, that he didn’t want the death to be covered. While riding in a private passenger van, Ifenna overhears a stranger suggest that there was more to the death and that Pastor Nick had engaged in a coverup, Ifenna’s pursuit of that angle gets him fired, but he continues to dig into it as a blogger. The complex plot complements the vividly rendered setting. Fans of crime novels centered on wrongdoing in powerful religious institutions, such as Mette Ivie Harrison’s books, will be riveted. (Nov.)