So I read Chasing Facades in a bit of a rush. I read it to review it which is rare for me and I think it took a little bit of the pleasure out of it. Hopefully I won’t be doing that again.
Let’s begin with the title – Chasing Facades. I love the title. It does exactly what it is supposed to do – incite suggestions of action, mystery, thrills, lies, all the things that a good detective story should have. And since Chasing Facades is very much a detective story the title is perfect. I also appreciate the fact that it did not try to draw attention to the Nigerian or African nature of the book. It meant to draw readers via the crime genre umbrella rather than via the African literature umbrella. I would give the title 10/10.
As for the plot, Tayo Dabi is a young female detective who is given her first solo case to solve. A wealthy contractor is murdered in his home and it is up to her to find out who committed the murder and why. It didn’t grab me. And a lot of the elements in the story were obvious, a lot of the tactics used and angles adopted were nothing new. As far as the mystery went, there was not much about it that was memorable. The tale took place in the fictional state of Sonowea, in Nigeria; and I can appreciate the author’s wisdom in doing it this way. Sonowea could be anything she wanted it to be, the roads, the rural homes and the wealthy homes, the offices and so on, without readers looking over your shoulder trying to place this, that and the other and questioning the plausibility and accuracy of the work.
Did it feel like Nigeria? Most of the time it did. I would give the plot 5/10.
I found the characters to be the most exciting element of the story. There was Obi, her charming, intelligent mentor, Tony who doubled as a suspect and very handsome love interest, Dike – the annoying and over-zealous admirer. Adeolu did justice to several characters in the novel, they seemed real and they were entertaining, engaging and stayed true to themselves throughout. The interactions between Tayo and the other characters were certainly interesting and I found myself wondering as much about her love-life as her friend Sharon. I would give the characters 8/10.
As for her writing, it was easy to follow, easy to fall into. The conversations were flawless and the story believable. I would give the writing 6/10.