Rift is an adventure story about an ingenue called Fay Jassahn who travels up the Rift Valley from Kenya to Ethiopia and then doesn't know how to get home.
It's based on a trip I made myself at a time of famine and revolution. All the places are real, as are a lot of the characters and some of the events. I should not have been there, because to witness events like those and yet be able to do nothing to help made me part of the problem. I thought about it for over 10 years before I dared write about it. But even after 10 years, the trip was, in memory, still so catastrophic that I needed to face it and try to make sense of the experience.
I don't actually believe that writing a novel was the appropriate response, but it's the only skill I can use to remind people about other, godforsaken parts of the world where ordinary folk, just like you and me, endure or die in unbelievable suffering.
Even as I write this - July 08 - the Horn of Africa is facing another catastrophe, provoked by climate, rising food prices, the cost of oil and the criminal neglect of bad or no government. It's the same stuff that makes you and me complain at the gas station or wince at the supermarket check-out. But the stuff that merely pisses us off actually kills them - kills their children and makes them watch their families die.
The Anna Lee series
The Eva Wylie series
The other stand-alone novel...
The story collections I co-edited for Britain's Crime Writers' Association.