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Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite
In Pharmacrime by Juma Pamoja, when a British doctor volunteering in a Nairobi clinic has to face the death of yet another child from HIV, he is faced with allegations from the mother that the HIV drugs given to her child were counterfeit. Although everyone in authority at the clinic accuses the mother of being a conspiracy theorist and a liar, Lenny decides to carry out his own investigations into the allegations. He finds that the deaths are commonplace in the poorer areas of the country but quite rare in the more affluent areas. On the surface, everything seems in order until he uncovers some disturbing evidence. Lenny struggles to find anyone in authority to help him in his fight against the criminal cartels dealing with counterfeit drugs. What he unearths places his safety at risk and even when he is forced to leave Kenya, those in power wish to silence him and ruin his entire reputation. Can Lenny help save the lives of the most vulnerable and bring a billion-dollar criminal industry to its knees?
Pharmacrime by Juma Pamoja has an extremely compelling plot and covers a little known subject that threatens the lives of many in developing countries around the world. The twists and turns were superb and definitely kept my interest. I thought the characters were created with much sensitivity, especially the tribeswomen and the brutal, inhumane life experiences they endured. Lucy was another great character and gave Lenny the much needed emotional support to continue his investigations. The characters' development throughout the story was perfect. The suspense and conflict of the storyline also made this a real page-turner. The entire novel was evidently well-researched regarding the cultural and social problems facing Kenya, especially those living in the slum areas of the country. I do hope the author writes more on this subject, as highlighting this corruption and negative ethnicity can only benefit the fight against criminal cartels.