Book review: The Boy in the River

The Boy in the River- Richard Hoskins
I'd been meaning to read this book for a long time. Richard Hoskins is a former colleague of Rich so I felt like I should give this a go, although it's not something I would have chosen to read otherwise.

The book is a mesh of autobiography and true-crime. Hoskins is an African rituals expert who has worked closely with the police on a number of murder and abuse cases that have their roots in African belief systems. As he retells his stories of fighting for justice- mostly focussed on the case of Adam, a young boy whose torso was found in the Thames in 2001- he reveals a close personal connection with Africa, where he lived for many years and lost two daughters. 
Hoskins writes in an accessible, engaging style and explains his findings very clearly. He is quick to explain that the abuse is not a part of African culture, and that the people who commit these crimes are seen with as much repulsion in African communities as they are in Western ones. The overall portrayal is a man who is intelligent, empathetic and determined to do the right thing, at the risk of his personal life.

However, there were some attempts at humour that seemed at odds with the dark content. It jarred and seemed a desperate, unnecessary attempt to lighten the mood. There were also numerous references to Hoskins being middle class and from the Home Counties. Although I understand that this was used to contrast the differences in culture, it only served to create an "us-and-them" complex, and I would have preferred him to highlight the similarities, rather than the differences, especially as he spends so much time reassuring the reader that African beliefs are not rooted in voodoo. 
Overall, although I wouldn't necessarily recommend this book, I did find it an interesting read. 

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  1. Dr Hoskins is my old teacher!

  2. Oh I actually loved this book when I read it a couple of months ago. I did notice the numerous home counties references also, and did think it a bit irrelevant but the story really is so interesting, in a horrible way xxx


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