Thursday, April 28, 2011

For the best of African Reviews log onto The Burning Splint

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

John Grisham's The Pelican Brief bigger than watergate

Title: The Pelican Brief
Author: John Grisham
Publisher: Islands Books; 1992
Genre: Fiction (Thriller)
Pages: 436
Reviewer: Manuel Odeny

The brown pelican, the symbol of Louisiana State of USA in 1960, are quickly going extinct thanks to the oil exploration at the delicate Mississippi delta which Is the birds’ breeding ground.

Its is these birds that John Grisham gives The Pelican Brief its title in his masterful  thriller of court room drama fast paced with gangsters, lawyers and sleazy politicians.

In a wave on conspiracy two USA Supreme Court judges are violently murdered. As Americans grapple with the shock, the FBI places its suspect list of Underground Army, Klansmen, Puerto Ricans and other conservative roughnecks.

Things only change when a second year law student in New Orleans take a long shot in the dark by detailing the killers behind the murders.

Darby Shaw, the young law student using public records speculates the murderer to be a crazy oil exploration magnate called Mattiece whose billion dollar oil reserve sits dormant as environmentalist wag war in the back loaded courts in a brief termed the Pelican.

Believing that the two judges would vote against him the magnate discreetly takes them down and pays the white house re-election campaign team a tidy amount for a favorable bench.

Things move discreetly until Darby Shaw’s Pelican Brief finds its way to the FBI before finaling settling at the White House with a snow balling effect of high class murders.

The murders seem uncoordinated: Shaw’s Prof dies in a car bomb, FBI lawyer is found dead in a hotel room, a young associate of a reclusive Republican law firm is mugged and an international renowned Arab assassin is gunned down in the streets of New Orleans as he tries to kill Darby Shaw.

Now the same murderers are on the hot heels of Darby Shaw.

The pieces of jigsaw finally fit together when Darby partners with Gray Grantham an investigative reporter with The Washington Post. As the scandal unfolds to surpass Nixon’s Watergate it threatens to put the president’s re-election on the hold.

The book has all the elements of a thriller: the little tit bits of facts craftily thrown about (history of brown pelicans), a dangerous assassin who murdered a Lebanese general as a teenager, a psychopath millionaire hell bend on destruction. To cap it all, a beautiful and smart damsel dodging hardcore gangsters partnering with a Pulitzer winning The Washington Post journalist as they dodge the bad guys, CIA, FBI and bombs going off as they try to nail the fools at the Capitol Hill.

The final ingredient is John Grisham’s ease of story telling and his knack of building thriller from law as he waxes the fable together to grip the readers to the book’s cover.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Man urinating in public

Man and lion hugging

An African hippo yawning

A laughing hare

Ghetto boy, Hands high up in the sky

Ripe grapes

A fox calling out

Ducks in a pond

Flapping Duck

Monday, April 18, 2011

Joking with a Wheelburrow

F1 Rally Car

Potrait of a Model

Shouting in the pulpit

A puppy chasing hare

A dancing Rumple-stilts-skin

A woman's bust

Man Walking Away

I am the guy ur mum warned u about

Barack Obama: The Potrait

Archibishop william Rowland

Saturday, April 16, 2011

a bunch of flowers

Najib Balala: Caricuture of the Mvita Mp

Najib Balala: Potrait of the Mvita Mp

Ababu Namwamba: Budalangi Mp

Bear with a Shovel

Manuel Odeny: Attempt at my Self Potrait

Necking Giraffe

Fidel Castro: Potrait Painting of the Cuban Leader

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Book Review: The Partner by John Grisham

A Partner in Deed, is the Partner in Heels.
TITLE: The Partner
AUTHOR: John Grisham
PUBLISHER: Island Books
REVIEWER: Manuel Odeny

Life to Patrick a Mississippi lawyer sucks. Outwardly to friends and family he appears normal till he realizes what others don’t. he works as a rookie for two years for a politically connected firm before making partner and marries Trudy, a beautiful woman he meets at a party.

At the firm Patrick picks up a conversation between his four fellow partners who want to fire him because the firm is about to get $13 million from a case by Mcaistar- a former employee of Global Parts, a company selling nuclear war heads to the government of US.

When the company betrays Mcaistar by blocking his promotion and transferring him to a little town, he takes his revenge, resigns and looks for a politically connected firm to reap in millions. Mcaistar ‘uncovers’ a plot to over bill the government on a nuclear weapon deal.

At home Patrick meets his wife’s ex-husband who tells him of Trudy’s affair with a teenager lover that caused their first divorce. Patrick discovers of his wife double dealing and that their daughter is illegitimate.

While the mid-life crisis causes men to take on younger wives and some to go back to school, Patrick decides to disappear, he teaches himself how to disappear without trace: through death. Patrick fakes his death

So when a partner ‘dies’ and $13 million gets lost from a bank questions will star t fly-unanswered- and rumor mills wills grind-unverified. Is Patrick really dead? Did he take the money?

After watching his own funeral the hunt begins……….

The legal thriller write john Grisham novel is fantastic. The humor short and witty. Suspense grips as Grisham leads you to a specific path to the truth only to reach a dead end and direct you to a new unchartered path.

The reader will enjoy the book with its swift turn of betrayal and greed.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Edwin Savatia, Young author on online publication of his book Blood Creep Ghoul

Edwin Savatia during the interview
Edwin Savatia a final year student at Maseno University shares with readers of The Burning Splint about being published at 23 years and challenges facing young writers in Kenya.

Burning Splint: Who is Edwin Savatia?
Edwin Savatia: Am a Kenyan born on October 1988 in Vihiga County. I went to St. Joseph’s primary in Webuye and am an alumnus of Kakamega High School. Currently am a final year student of Bachelor’s of Arts Communication and Media Technology with IT in Maseno University.

BS: What is the genre of your writing? Can you describe the style of you writing?
ES: Am an author with a lining to fiction covering adventure and human interest stories. Am also a poet with over 20 poems on unpublished manuscripts, on top of my published book Blood Creep Ghoul, I too have one complete manuscript Witch of Mikovo: The 13 Mortal Hearts and another one still in the pipeline.

BS: Please highlight to the readers about Witch of Mikovo: The 13 Mortal Hearts?
ES: its main theme and setting is about culture and environmental issues in an ancient African town. A town inhibited by a council is inherited by a tyrannical major from his erstwhile humble and peace loving father.

BS: When did you start writing, and from where do you draw your inspiration?
ES: I started writing seriously in form 3 this was in 2005. I got then, and still get my inspiration from society in issues like betrayal, unrequited love and other emotional theme. I see stories in many things as family setup, society and politics.
With time though I took to fiction to express myself better.

BS: As a young author with your first book, who is any established mentor author inspiring you to write?
ES: locally I get inspired by David Maillu and Mejja Mwangi with his book Cockroach Dance; Nigerian Chinua Achebe and Kem Nankwo with his book Danda; and R.L. Stine.

BS: How to they inspire you?
ES: It’s the way they narrate a story simply with the African traditional touch.

BS: Let’s talk about your current book Blood Creep Ghoul and how you came to publish it?
ES: The book was published on February this year by I Proclaim Publishers where it costs about Ksh. 800 online and Ksh. 1,200 when ordered in hardcover. An author friend proposed I Proclaim Publishers which is an imprint of Dorans Publishers.

BS: I meant how you came about moving online away from established publishers in Kenya..….
ES: I was coming to that actually, I tried three local publishers, 2 of them didn’t bother to reply which was disheartening while Longhorn Publishers was positive by reading the manuscript and replying at about 2 months and they had a problem with the theme.

BS: As a young writer what are the challenges facing you and others in Africa with a bias in Kenya.
ES: The biggest is getting your first piece published and cutting a niche audience in fiction with romance, gangster or a war front story from conversations. Most publishers too don’t believe in young writers and worse still if a young writer is trying to break a niche.

BS: What about as a student and among friends and a family?
The Author
ES: I don’t follow you, in what way?

BS: I mean in line with challenges as a writer with time for studying and support from people closer to you with a make believe attitude that the profession doesn’t pay enough?
ES: Surely…. writing and editing stories is time consuming, but my family and friends are very, very supportive perhaps since writing is in line with my profession in Communication.  Blood Creep Ghoul ‘s  acknowledgment would attest to this.

BS: Talking about the Blood Creep Ghoul may you give us a gist of the book.
ES: it is a 142 page fiction book where a platoon sets camp in Kra Valley Forest with an aim of attacking another camp for gun powder which they successfully do. The ensuring counter offensive and fighting triggers a reincarnation of a long dead soul of a ghost.
BS: The blood creep ghoul.
ES: Exactly and that is where the book gets its title.

BS: How can readers access a copy?
ES: I Proclaim books is based in Pennsylvania USA and the book is available in online copy and hard cover by ordering it on the following link: they can also place an order and inquiries from my email and through The Burning Splint (contacts are at the end of this interview).

BS: As a Kenyan writer published by a USA publisher what is you take on the country’s publishing environment?
ES: Honestly, publishers should not take long with author’s manuscript because any feedback Is better than an agonizing silence. They too should give a chance to young writers to create a more diverse market.

BS: Comment on the notion of Kenyan youths being poor readers with invasion of social media and electronic media?
ES: The readership is low with a laxity caused by reading for immediate knowledge but not literary work during a leisure time.
Additionally, there no initiative to get an original copy with most across the age groups opting for pirated version affecting the industry. Equally publishers and readers are afraid in trying out new readers and opt for legends like Chinua Achebe.

BS: May you take this privilege to recommend 5 books from your shelf to the readers of The Burning Splint. Please leave a short comment after the author and the title?
ES: On top of the list if Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, because of its mastery in capturing the African story and society. Secondly is Philip Gourvetrich’s We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families which gives a real life experience of Rwanda’s genocide.
Thirdly is John Grisham’s The Last Juror with its mastery in court room drama, Mejja Mwangi’s Cockroach Dance would follow with the best of human life and society of the Kenya’s 70s and finally Kem Nankwo’s  Danda for throwing humor in Nigerian culture which reflects to other African countries.

BS: Career wise can you take writing seriously as a profession?
ES: Most definitely, am confident to pursue it because it is a passion and the best way to express myself not only as a write but to the all society.

BS: Patting shot?
ES: The society should embrace young writers by embracing their work with a positive criticism this would increase more literary works by Kenyans and Africans at large.
Most important too is the inception of new media in publishing which should be harnessed in the publishing industry without curtailing the professional standards.

BS: Thank you Mr. Savatia for your time The Burning Splint wishes you success in your endeavors?
ES:  Thanks Mannu….. I mean Mr. Odeny; I wish you success in your career too.

(For further inquiries contact the author on and the blogger at or follow the following link directly :