March 07, 2015

Oil on Water by Helon Habila | Book Review

I expected Oil on Water to be a gripping tale about life in the oil rich areas in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. I expected that it would follow the life of a protagonist who lives in abject poverty while oil companies mine billions of dollars worth of oil from his ancestral land. I wanted a deep, gripping, soul-crushing story of dead dreams, dead fishes, and dead bodies of innocent villagers caught in crossfire between militants and government soldiers. This isn't that story. At least not really. Habila's tale covers that from a different, grossly underwhelming narrative angle. In Oil on Water a young ambitious journalist Rufus, volunteers to go on an assignment to the islands in the Niger Delta to report on the kidnapping of the caucasian wife of an oil company executive. Rufus signs up because his career hero Zaq, will be going on this assignment. Zaq is a renowned journalist who was very prominent back in Rufus college days but now he's a washed up, reclusive alcoholic. Rufus gets this chance because none of the more capable journalists at The Reporter want to risk their life pursuing this story. This kidnapping story could be the big break he needs to jumpstart his fledgling career. It's also helpful that the community where the militants are supposedly holding the white woman at ransom is similar to the community he was born and raised in. The one he left behind years ago in search of a better life in Port Harcourt. The journey of Zaq and Rufus form the rest of Oil on Water.

As I read Oil on Water I kept wondering if a Nigerian journalist would go to the lengths Rufus does in order to get the scoop on a story. Oil on Water is not unputdownable. It's just there. I admit that I approached this book with different expectations for the storyline but that doesn't change the reality of what this book is. I think Oil on Water was meant to be something weightier and complex in its tackling of Nigeria's big Niger Delta problem. If that's the case then I believe it falls short of achieving its full potential. This is my third Helon Habila novel and if I had to rank all three of them Oil on Water would be my least favorite.
Measuring Time by Helon Habila - My Thoughts
Waiting for an Angel by Helon Habila - My Thoughts

[Image via Amazon]

March 03, 2015

Running Scared: The Most Terrifying Tale Ever Told!

Inkitt's "Running Scared" Horror Contest Starts TODAY!!
Inkitt is a free platform for writers to cultivate ideas and watch their stories grow. At Inkitt, writers and readers collaborate, giving each other feedback and improving their work. Inkitt wants to help writers get the exposure they deserve and the publishing deals they covet without suffering the frustrations and bias of traditional printing and self-publishing. 

The theme of Inkitt's March horror contest is "Running Scared: The Most Terrifying Tale Ever Told." In the tradition of classic horror flicks and monster movies, they want the freakiest, flashiest fables you can come up with. Make them scream! 

Inkitt is accepting all frightening fiction up to 15,000 words. The contest opens March 3rd and closes on March 31st. It's free to enter, and you'll retain all rights to any work submitted. By collecting the most community votes, the top 10% of entries will be bumped into judging by Inkitt's guest judges (horror authors J.D. Horn, Armand Rosamilia, and J. Thorn). They're pretty unshakeable guys, so pull out all the stops to get them quaking in their boots! 

Win and you'll receive a petrifying prize package, including Amazon gift cards and Inkitt custom mugs. The first place winner will also get a custom poster spotlighting their story! Readers, be on your toes too: there's an Amazon gift card up for grabs for one lucky reviewer! 

Got gore on your mind and fear in your heart? Enter the contest now at for all the (literal) guts and glory!

Contest URL:
Twitter Handle@Inkitt
Hashtag: #RunningScared

[Images and post content provided by Inkitt]