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    April 19, 2016 10:37 AM PDT

    Revolving around cattle raids, the novel explores how the people of the fictional Toibong and neighbouring villages react to raiders. Chief Ikoja, a fairly rich villager, seeks the services of Bombay, a witch-doctor, for charms to repulse the invaders with lightning. 

    Among the three conditions that must be fulfilled in order for his son, Dibola, to receive the powers is a sacrifice of “the most highly-esteemed person in the village”. 

    That is how Johny Haraka, preparing for his first year at the Ivory Tower University, is slain, and then disembowelled. Unfortunately for the Ikojas, Bombay’s prescription does not work, not even for himself – he is killed by the raiders for trying to resist looting. The charms will not stop the invaders’ raining gunshots. 

    Yet Haraka’s clan will not let their son’s slayers go scot-free. They consult Jogo, the herbalist from Tumtum, to impose a ritual curse to avenge his death. 

    With a stroke of his pen, Malinga strikes many in Ikoja’s household dead, thanks to the potency of Jogo’s portions, until a family elder recommends reconciliation with Matilda, Haraka’s mother. 

    But the delegation from the now late Ikoja’s family will not stand the dead man’s roaring; they flee the cleansing exercise. The writer uses Olum’s encounter with a Christian group in the Machakura game park to indicate hope for the restoration of the late Ikoja’s household and the entire Toibong, thus “My Toibong will change”. 

    Throughout the 105 pages of the book, Malinga gives the reader a feel of the culture in Toibong: the communal aspects; the teasing marriage procedures; superstitions; and death rituals. 

    The 31-year-old medical laboratory technician paints a picture of the aftermath of the cattle raids, in the wake of the Idi Amin regime. However, Malinga allows unnecessary dialogues such as those of what the characters’ next moves are. 

    Some characters often seem like disinterested movie actors being forced to follow a script; some of them are emotionless, even when it is obvious that they should not be detached. He could also have retained more interest through suspense. 

    Nevertheless, The Dead Man Roars is a well-knitted story worth hours, even days of reading: it is a good first novel.