Guilty with Reason, George Nnamani, DeRafelo, Enugu, 2019, pp. 200
How do you feel as a super cop, when, after convincingly, implicating a murderer during a lengthy investigation, the criminal walks out free, thanks to a smart attorney? The pains are too excruciating to bear.
For all his diligence in unravelling the killer of Monica Ibenda, the loose wife of John Ibenda, the hangman-bag of bones, the loopholes in our Criminal Justice System of Alfador (the biggest country in Africa) is exploited by Barrister Nat in George Nnamani’s thriller, Guilty with Reason, to free the culprit, Josh Metu. But karma lies in wait for the scoundrel.
Guilty Without Reason is a whodunit fiction by George Nnamani, a legal luminary. Set in the Eden–you must have heard about this setting before in his fiction –the story bristles with incredible twists and turns until the turn of event takes a turn for the cuffs.
Thrillers are meant to trill us on end –in Guilty without Reason –there is a surfeit of it –but it is crystal clear, from the undertone, that even your best friend can be a killer without you knowing it. Trust nobody, that is. As disconcerting as divorce is in a marriage, take a walk when it heading nowhere.
For years, John Ibenda has been dying in silence, trying to put up with a philandering wife who is a termagant, as well. Before him, she has married more than three husbands –all which broke down irretrievably. The 40 million riza he won is what worms him into her heart, but, like every ephemeral manna from above, the money vanishes as Monica’s talons feast on it. She returns, hence, to her coquettish lifestyles. Too bad for hangman.
The plot of the novel cranks up at will, and, at every point in time, it throws up manacles waiting for a hook. Nnamani surely knows how to sustain the reader’s interest with cliffhangers. Not until you get to the last pages of this whodunit that the cat is let out of the bag.
Ambrose is the Chief Paediatrician of the National Hospital, Eden, while his friend, Metu runs METS Consult, a consultancy firm specialised in assessing, diagnosing and treating mental, emotional and behavioural disorders. But the latter doesn’t know his friend well until the murder of Monica Ibenda occurs.
When the plot opens, John Ibenda is the subject of their gossip –we learn of his incompatible marriage, the randy, jezebel wife and the godforsaken husband. Ambrose is to learn that Metu is part of the family’s problems. It doesn’t take long when social media begins to buzz with the murder of Monica Ibenza. Metu plays along with lip service.
The task to unravel the mystery behind this murder rests with Sergeant Barth O’Connell. His investigation sees him nosing up for suspects, including John Ibenda, whom many people suspect is the culprit because of the couple’s constant altercations at home –he is a readymade scapegoat waiting to be nailed, more so, when she is murdered alongside his boyfriend nicknamed “Machine”.
In the cause of the investigation, something tells Sargent Barth that John Ibenda may not be in good terms with his wife, but he doesn’t seem to be the culprit he is looking for. He doesn’t feel comfortable arraigning a seemingly innocent man. The puzzle is eventually cracked when, on searching the late woman’s call log and text messages provided by the network provider, he traces Josh Metu identity, who, hitherto, is concealed as a woman’s in her contact list.
Metu is eventually arraigned in a court, but, against the expectation of Barth and the state’s lawyers, he is set free by Lord Edward for want of convincing evidence. Then he makes a shocking admission to his lawyer on their way home that he actually killed the woman.
The shock of that discloser is yet to abate when Interpol and the Federal Bureau of Investigation of Eden round him up for defrauding the Federal Government of Alfador and the African Union of one million dollars. It is the end of the road for the wolf in sheep’s clothing.