New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards Winner • The third book in the Mbuno & Pero series pulls terror from headlines to create a gripping international thriller for readers of John le Carré, Daniel Silva, and Iris Johansen.
Expert safari guide Mbuno and wildlife television producer Pero Baltazar are filming on Lake Rudolf in Northern Kenya, East Africa, when they receive news that Mbuno’s son, himself an expert guide, has been kidnapped while on a safari five hundred miles away in Tanzania. After gathering the clues and resources needed to trek through the wilderness, they trace the kidnappers back to an illegal logging operation clear-cutting national park forests, manned by sinister Boko Haram mercenaries. There, they find not only Mbuno's son but also a shocking revelation that has terrifying and far-reaching consequences.
Relying on Mbuno’s legendary bush skills, the pair must overcome the danger both from inside and outside the camp to bring Mbuno’s son out alive. In doing so, Mbuno and Pero discover that kidnapping and deforestation are only the beginning of the terrorist group's aspirations, and they realize a threat that would herald an even more dangerous outcome for Tanzania—a coup. A rescue might just risk the entire stability of the region.
Exciting and expertly plotted using facts ripped from news’ headlines, Kidnapped on Safari is a gripping, edge-of-your-seat thriller set in deepest, darkest, Machiavellian, East Africa.
Lurking under the generic title of Riva's third Mbano and Pero thriller (after 2016's The Berlin Package) is a solid, if somewhat plodding, yarn of intrigue and derring-do. A routine wildlife photo shoot headed by safari organizer Pero Baltazar in Kenya is interrupted by news that Ube, the favorite nephew of Pero's best friend, Mbuno, master hunter from the Liangulu tribe, has been abducted by mysterious armed strangers in Tanzania. Pero and Mbuno travel to Tanzania, where they succeed in rescuing Ube from a criminal organization that's producing and smuggling huge amounts of cocaine. They also discover that some of the group's members belong to Boko Haram, who are holding kidnapped schoolgirls. The tension rises as Pero and Mbuno feel morally compelled to rescue the schoolgirls, even as they blunder into a thicket of multinational deceit, an impending coup d' tat, and ambushes. Complex, believable action, including a breakneck ride through the jungle on a hijacked train, helps compensate for the flat prose.