The interesting thing about When Trouble Sleeps is that like its prequel, Easy Motion Tourist, it is such an easy read that I finished it over a weekend. Considering how slow a reader I am, that is a super quick achievement. The action in it is relentless and the prose is easy without being spectacular. When Trouble Sleeps is a continuation of Amaka Mbadiwe’s quest for social justice as she fights the Lagos system in a bid to save and protect vulnerable ladies and girls. These girls are caught up in the middle as rich men and their powerful pimps trade fleshly desires, egos and blackmail one another.
Unlike its prequel, When Trouble Sleeps has a political settings as the action happens with the Lagos state gubernatorial election in the background. Chief Ojo is poised to become the next governor of Lagos state but he also happens to be Amaka’s prime target in her quest for justice. She has enough secrets from his recent past to sink him and she sets out to do just that. The descriptions in the book are not only vivid but are believable too. For anyone who has lived in Lagos, it is easy to visualise the locations and actions.
Despite the above, I had substantial issues with When Trouble Sleeps. I found the protagonist almost unbelievable. It is the same issue I had with the prequel. A social crusader that darted so close to the crime that I often wondered if she low key enjoyed the crime herself. Secondly, the Nigerian Police as depicted in the book was almost too fictional to be believed. How Ibrahim was able to mount two illegal operations across state borders without the interference of his superiors is almost laughable, especially when you consider the status of the targets of those illegal operations. Additionally, the Oshodi lybching subplot was a distraction that could have been avoided. On a final note, the ending seemed rushed and left a few salient points unresolved. Unlike others, I found this second installment to be an improvement on the prequel but still just above average. Considering the paucity of crime fiction set in Nigeria, it is a good offering that could have been better.