Thursday, November 26, 2015

Murder On Safari - Guest Post and Review

Book Description:

Only a reality TV producer and an expert safari guide can stop a terrorist attack.

Every adventure starts at the fringes of civilization. For expert safari guide Mbuno and wildlife television producer Pero Baltazar, filming in the wild of East Africa should have been a return to the adventure they always loved. This time they’d be filming soaring vultures in northern Kenya and giant sea crocodiles in Tanzania with Mary, the daughter of the world’s top television evangelist, the very reverend Jimmy Threte.

But when a terrorist cell places them in the crosshairs, there is suddenly no escape and they must put their filming aside and combine all their talents to thwart an all-out al-Shabaab terrorist attack on Jimmy Threte’s Christian gathering of hundreds of thousands in Nairobi, Kenya.

Buy the book:     Amazon    Barnes & Noble     Chapters/Indigo

My Thoughts:

After listening to Peter Riva's 'The Path' a week or so ago, I was not sure what Murder on Safari had in store for me.

I must say, I enjoyed this book much more!

The story starts out slowly, setting the scene, and introducing all the important characters. However, quickly grows into one of intrigue and mystery as we travel with Pero Baltazar and his team through Africa ending in Nairobi, Kenya.

The characters are well defined and their interaction is seamless. The drama and suspense builds rapidly until the ultimate ending. Will they be successful in their quest?

The narrator R. D. Watson does a brilliant job conveying the individual characters, with the emotions realistic, and it is easy to follow the changes in character. 

Pinky's Rating (out of 5): 4 dragonflies

Author's Bio:

Peter Riva spent many months over thirty years in Africa, many of them with the legendary guides for East African white hunters and adventurers. He created a TV series (seventy-eight 1-hour episodes) in 1995 called WildThings for Paramount TV. Passing on the fables, true tales and insider knowledge of these last reserves of true wildlife is a passion.

Connect with the author:     Website  ~   Twitter  ~   Facebook

Guest Post:

A day in Africa with Peter Riva…

Hi Sharon. The idea of recreating a day in Africa is actually a fun one. There are so many memorable days in my memory of time spent there… but let’s take one that is more, ahem, exciting? I was producing (and exec. Producing) a pilot for Paramount Television…

The phone rang in my Intercontinental Hotel room on the 6th floor – the floor with guards to prevent any pilferage or robbers – at 3am. Groggy, I answered only to hear the Paramount woman in charge of our little pilot – I think her name was Glancie or something - yelling at me because I had requested advance money, $50,000 to be exact, to fund the shoot of 14 days. She could not believe I needed cash in the bank because, she assured me, Paramount would refund any expenses when we returned successfully. “I was in Kenya, my Amex card worked perfectly!”

I pointed out that where we were filming was in the wild, not a safari park or hotel somewhere and that little green card would be perhaps useful to a Maasai warrior only as a scraper for his morning ablutions. She took that badly and continued yelling. I put the phone on the bedside table and went to get a drink of water. When I returned, she was still yelling. I asked if we were done as I knew the money was already in the bank account. She promised a strict accounting and hung up. Later she lived up to her (anger) word – we lost $150 in “bar tabs” for bottled water.

Two hours later, I assembled our crew (videographer, two soundmen/technicians, Mbuno the guide, and the government minder) and set off for Wilson Airport to catch a sunrise flight (when the air is cold, there is better lift at 5,000 feet) to Tsavo West/Kimana – a previous hunting block, now fast becoming a new wildlife park – albeit one without any tourists yet.

There were two planes waiting for us, one larger than the other. I loaded the crew in the larger one and watched as heavy film equipment was (over) loaded into the Piper Aztec twin engine plane I was to ride in. The pilot was a very young South African and we took off following the larger and faster Cessna ahead of us. As we approached Tsavo, 45 minutes later, the Cessna was way ahead, nowhere to be seen. The right engine took that moment to sputter and quit.

I am familiar with some small plane engines and watched as the pilot went for a restart – a restart for Lycoming engines not Teledyne Continental that I knew the Aztec had. The engine did not start, of course. Heavily laden, we were going to have a forced landing amongst the boulders and thorn trees below us. He told me to brace. He was just about to call out a Mayday on the radio when I told him to stop. “Mind if I have a go? I know these engines…”

After getting the engine restarted (he had the mixture way too rich since takeoff which caused the stall) – we proceeded along nicely. I assured him it was our little secret. He seemed happier. Gee, I wonder why. I made a note to ask Bluebird for a different pilot for the return.

When we got settled in Tsavo, part of the filming script we had worked out was to film herds at dusk. My partner and perhaps one of the world’s finest videographers, Bertram van Munster, wanted to capture the migratory animals at dusk… so we quickly set up equipment and arranged the locals Mbuno had coerced to help into a base camp, tents and all, ready to roll in Landrovers that Tony Archer of Flamingo Tours had delivered down to us. Tony was always 100% reliable. That’s a rule when filming -100% reliable people.

By the time dusk was starting to fall, Bertram was hanging out of the open top of the Landrover as I inched him into perfect frame as he commanded and he got the shot he wanted, B roll, of a herd of wildebeest and antelope cantering across the dusty plain with the setting sun back lighting them. Then, with great surprise, one antelope jumped 8 feet into the air right across the sun’s surface and – it was too far away for me to see – when Bertram lowered his camera he was smiling… “I think I got that lioness swiping at the antelope.” Sure enough, that night, reviewing footage in the tent, the sounds of Africa all around, Mbuno keeping watch, there she was on the 6 inch monitor screen, right at the bottom of the sun’s orb, raising up, trying to catch dinner.

Africa, always a surprise – but only if you put yourself in a position to let it happen.


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