Cover image for Blood is dirt
Blood is dirt
Wilson, Robert, 1957-
Personal Author:
First Harvest edition.
Publication Information:
Orlando : Harcourt, 2004.

Physical Description:
298 pages ; 20 cm
General Note:
"A Harvest original."
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Enter into a treacherous world in West Africa, where British expatriate Bruce Medway, a clandestine "troubleshooter" and debt collector, finds himself unexpectedly immersed in toxic waste scams and mafia crime when a job for his newest client turns out to involve more than the recovery of two million dollars. But Napier, the client, isn't the worst of Bruce's problems; that falls to Selina, Napier's seductive daughter, who wants more than money--she is out for revenge. In his attempt to help Selina, Bruce delves into more danger than he bargained for.

Nothing is static in this intense plot-driven novel where truth is murky and motives are hidden.While Bruce is no stranger to lies, deceit, and crime, he has never met anyone like Selina and her cohorts. And even though Selina is alluring, not even love can change the fact that in this world, blood is dirt.

A Harvest Original

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

In Wilson's third fine mystery (after 2003's The Big Killing) to feature Bruce Medway, the British expat/private investigator in West Africa, Medway is as fully realized as Chandler's Philip Marlowe or Ross MacDonald's Lew Archer-deeply human, aware of his limitations, a reluctant antihero. Equally well drawn are the many supporting roles, including Medway's African partner Bagado, his German girlfriend Heike and even the bad guys. Wilson also provides a palpable sense of place, here the dusty, impoverished port city of Cotonou in Benin. Alas, the labyrinthine plot sometimes veers close to incomprehensibility. A new client, another British expat, Napier Briggs, comes to Medway for help in recovering nearly $2 million stolen from him in an African confidence scheme, but that night he's brutally murdered, and the police express little interest in the case. His daughter, commodities broker Selina Aguia, comes to Cotonou to retrieve his body and hires Medway to help find his killer. Despite an overly complex plot that also involves a local Mafia Capo and some stolen plutonium, this elegantly written book provides an interesting glimpse into an unfamiliar world, with a compelling mixture of brutal violence and deadpan wit. Medway is far from perfect, but he's a perfect guide to the greed- and power-driven intrigues of a developing country.(July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



Cotonou, Benin. Friday 16th February.The sheep stood in the car park looking at its African owner with interest but no concern, which was a mistake. The animal had arrived from the market on a moped lying across the lap of its executioner whose sackful of knives was resting on the sheep's back. He'd lifted the sheep off with a gentleness normally reserved for sick children. The sheep was no more than dazed at seeing life passing it by a little quicker than usual. The butcher tethered it to the bumper of a Land Rover and arranged his knives on the sack.A boy arrived in a sweat on a bicycle which he leaned against the wall. He ran into the building. His feet slapped on the tiles in the stairwell. A while later the feet came back down again. And a while after that someone wearing steel tips on their shoes followed. They appeared in the car park.The sheep looked from the owner to the boy and then to the very tall, athletic Lebanese with the steel tips who was about to be the new owner but with one drastic difference that the sheep had not, as yet, rumbled. The Lebanese inspected the sheep, drumming the fingers of one hand on his washboard stomach and using the other hand to spin his gold chain around his neck. He nodded.The African took hold of a horn on the sheep's head and wiped a blade across its neck opening up a red, woolly grimace. The animal was puzzled by the movement and its consequences. It fell on its side. Blood trickled down the concrete ramp of the car park, skirted a large patch of black oil and pooled in the dirt of the road where a dog licked it quickly before it soaked into the sand. The Lebanese clipped away.I'd come out of the office to catch what could hardly be called a breeze that was playing around on the balcony, but it was better than sitting in the rise of one's own fetor. I had nothing on my plate which was why I was taking an interest in al fresco butchery and it was lucky I did. Glancing up from the twitching life struggling to get away from the future mutton roast, my eyes connected with the only white man in the street. He was looking at the sign hanging on my first floor balcony which said 'M B' and below that 'Enqutes et Recouvrements', 'Investigations and Debt Collection'.The white man was wearing a cream linen suit which must have seemed like a great idea in the shop window in London but out here quite quickly achieved the crumpled, downtrodden look of a copywriter or a graphic artist. He slipped a card into his pocket and was about to walk across the car park when he noticed the dead sheep with accusatory eyes and lolling head. The sight of it jerked something between his shoulder blades. His head flicked up, he looked left and right and went on to his back foot, preparing for a cartoon scram. The butcher, who was kneeling down by now, took out a wooden tube and with a small knife made a nick in the back leg above the sheep's elbow. He inserted the tube and blew down it. The boy stood adjacent with a Excerpted from Blood Is Dirt: A Bruce Medway Mystery by Robert Wilson All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.