The sequel series to Kenya, Namibia sees Kathy Austin return to Africa to investigate a fresh mystery. This time she’s hooking up with a grumpy ex-army officer, sent out to pasture, but who doesn’t see why British intelligence should have sent a young lady to investigate something that he could have covered on his own. However, he doesn’t know about her experiences in Kenya and she’s not about to start divulging such classified information. She also hooks up with a second character, a humanitarian investigator for the United Nations, with his own agenda to look into.
Together they set off into the desert to find out what’s causing a natural disaster out there, though Austin has already had a heads-up about an infestation of unusually large caterpillars that are devastating crops. Chuck in a post-war Nazi twist and you’ve got the measure of this first book.
There’s quite a lot of talking and nothing too weird in this, considering it’s a Leo book and he usually specialises in quickly throwing characters to creatures far worse than lions. However, the last page sets the tone for what’s likely to come in the future, suggesting a twist far deeper than the characters have led us to believe.
Leo hands over the art duties to Marchal in this series but the change is subtle. If anything it’s an improvement, as Marchal’s art carries the feeling of Leo’s but adds fluidity to his characters. We’ve often accused Leo of a certain stiffness to his figures but Marchal eradicates this, making the characters look significantly more natural. Whether he can do such a great job on Leo’s trademark alien creatures remains to be seen.
It’s early days for the series but we have high hopes that it will live up to its predecessors.