The Witchdoctor’s Bones // Canadian Literature

Lisa de Nikolits has done it again. This Canadian author, and my friend, continues to write novels that have me hooked from beginning to end!

The Witchdoctor’s Bones is about a group of tourists that meet in Namibia for a bus tour of Africa, and simultaneously a murder mystery ensues with plenty of twists.

Witchdoctors_BonesThe protagonist, a Canadian named Kate,

“ditches her two-timing boyfriend and heads to Africa on a whim, hoping for adventure, encountering the unexpected and proving an intrepid adversary to mayhem. The tour is led by Jono, a Zimbabwean historian and philosopher, and the travellers follow him from Cape Town into the Namib desert, learning ancient secrets of the Bushmen, the power of witchcraft and superstition, and even the origins of Nazi evil” –  Inanna Publications

Lisa is originally from South Africa, so her accounts of Africa – through the voice of Jono – is both accurate and educational. You’d think that this would make the book dull or dry, but it does the complete opposite. Lisa’s vivid descriptions of African history, culture and landscape are captivating.

I’ve said it in past blog posts about Lisa’s other novels, but I’m going to say it again, I love her character development.

Funnily enough, Jono (the tour guide and bus driver) cracked me up. After recently going on a coach bus tour of my own through Southern Italy, I couldn’t help but hear our Italian tour guide named Fabrizio through the voice of Jono. I immediately connected with this character as he shared his political views, and history about African culture, which was exactly what our tour guide had done about Italy. Jono was definitely my favourite character. 

For Meagan, however, she loved Marika. Marika became Kate’s best friend on the trip, and was very relatable. She was logical and down to earth. Although, Marika was somewhat irritating as she continuously got upset over her lost luggage that seemed like it would never arrive.

Similar to Lisa’s other novels, the further along you read – the more you become sympathetic towards the “bad” characters’ flaws and mental illnesses. For example, Harrison – a huge germophobe – is annoyingly attentive to cleaning methods at the start, but you end up liking him by the end. I won’t even get started on Rydell because that would call for a spoiler alert.

At times it was difficult to maintain a suspended disbelief because so many outlandish things occur during this tour of Africa, and it is difficult to keep track of all the characters at the beginning. Yet, the novel has its own charm on account of its mysteriousness and darkness that Lisa creates. For these reasons I couldn’t put it down, and it was the perfect novel to read while commuting to and from work.

To purchase this novel, please click here. I promise that you won’t regret it.

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