Crompton very much delivers on the promise of his debut, The Honey Guide. This is an excellent police procedural which satisfies everything demanded of the genre... There are plenty of plot twists, and in Mollel we have a compelling protagonist... But what really elevates the book is Crompton's experience as a journalist. He is able to bring depth to the story by examining the difference between the law and justice, not just in everyday Kenyan life, but in international politics and in the way that globalism has not just brought wealth to the poorer countries but also suffering. In short, Hell's Gate is both entertaining and thought-provoking.
Richard Crompton's second novel is a clever and frequently thrilling read... If Nordic noir is joined by its African equivalent at the top of the bestseller charts it may well be due to the reading public discovering Richard Crompton to be one of the most gifted crime writers of his generation.
Can Richard Crompton repeat the excellence of last year's The Honey Guide, his first novel? Few would have considered a Masai warrior turned Kenyan detective as a hugely attractive crime fiction hero. But in Hell's Gate Crompton does it again... Mollel tackles a variety of crimes, including corruption and murder, with a beguiling blend of moroseness, honesty, confusion and astute wisdom
[Crompton] has done something near-miraculous and made the figure of the incorruptible loner-detective fresh again.
Hell's Gate is the second of [Crompton's] novels set in Kenya, and is every bit as good as The Honey Guide... Crompton writes with ease about traditional customs and the impact on Kenya of globalisation, creating a vivid portrait of a country struggling to come to terms with modernity
The struggle between the two sides of [Mollel's] nature makes him an interesting and sympathetic protagonist... The underlying conflicts at work in Kenyan society also become explicit through Mollel's thinking. The tribal divide is still a powerful factor - the Maasai, a tribe whose economy and life is based around their cattle; the Kikuyu, who have adapted better to the influx of Western technology and lifestyle; and the wandering Samburu, amongst others. Add to this the influence of a much richer West, and now the Chinese too, and it is easy to see the temptations and pressures which undermine stability. The picture of Africa is not that of Alexander McCall Smith, and the lack of fairness and justice is a consistently appalling background. Mollel's humanity and touches of humour here and there do, however, lift the mood.