City of Saints & Thieves is an enthralling murder mystery


City of Saints and Thieves, published this year by author Natalie C. Anderson, is a quick, enthralling novel that will keep the reader wondering until the very end. Following a young girl seeking vengeance for her mother’s death, the book is an exciting murder mystery that examines family relationships and the power of haunting pasts.

Tina is a refugee, forced to reside in Kenya after having to escape the Congo with her mother. Shortly upon arriving in Kenya, Tina’s mother finds work as a maid for one of the richest families in the country, the Greyhills. After her mother’s mysterious and unexpected murder, Tina makes it her duty to seek revenge on the person she suspects pulled the trigger four years ago.

On her journey of discovery, Tina finds herself in escalating situations of peril and ultimately resorts to theft to survive. As she comes closer to finding the truth, a childhood friend appears to help her through her difficulties.

This novel has drawn comparisons to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for similar plot points, but City of Saints and Thieves is definitely a more mild and less graphic version, although it does grapple with many realistic and difficult topics.

Something I enjoyed was the lack of romance. In many young adult novels, authors will automatically push two characters together into a relationship and draw attention from the plot of the book. This story, for the most part, lacked all romantic connections and directed the focus to the mystery and action.

From the first line and throughout the whole book, Tina gave readers tips on being the best thief you can, which I really enjoyed and felt added detail to the plot. The plot itself is quite basic, but an extremely diverse cast of characters adds

As Natalie C. Anderson’s debut novel, she put in a lot of work to make this book as accurate and realistic as possible. She spent years working with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the UN on refugee relief and development, mainly in Africa.

Also, while the story is fiction, Anderson based many aspects of the book on real events. Specifically, Tina’s mother’s past is inspired by persecution histories that Anderson learned about while personally working with refugees in Kenya. Based off this successful debut, readers can expect more lovely works from Anderson. Also, Universal Pictures has taken the job of adapting the screenplay for an upcoming film.

This book deals with some darker, more mature themes and seems mostly meant for older readers, but could be for all audiences since it isn’t too graphic. I’d recommend this to anyone who loves a good action-packed novel with a plot centered around unravelling a complex mystery.