Blood Wood

About The Book

Blood Wood coverWhile exploring deep into the Dja Bio Reserve in south eastern Cameroon in search of beleaguered chimpanzee colonies, Professor Mark Rees, a primatologist, discovers the badly mutilated body of Colin Wingent, a forester. The manner of his death suggests the evil practices of muti, where the victim is butchered for body parts whilst still alive.

In an attempt to learn who might be responsible for Wingent's murder, Rees finds himself embroiled in the ruthless machinations of the giant logging company operating in the area. His own life is threatened as he struggles to survive in the Dja and the capital, Yaounde, at least as dangerous as the bush.

Rees involves his friend DCI Paul Draper when he discovers the trail leads back to the UK. Together, they try to learn the final shocking truth about blood wood.

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"What the hell...?" But this was no living, breathing ape. This was just the severed head, eyes milky and sunken under the prominent brow ridges, neck ragged and bloody where hacked from the body, the skin clinging parchment-like to the lines of the skull.

The stall holder – is that what he was? – mistaking his gaze for interest, grabbed the horror by the hair on the slightly crested head and held it out to him, gabbling at him. Sue gave a sharp scream and held her hand over her mouth, as Mark felt the bile rise into his throat. This was the smell that had sent his juices flowing? This obscene, pathetic, bloody mess that was once a noble ape? He turned away, closing his eyes, afraid of being sick. Now the smell had taken on an evil fragrance like a carnivorous flower that would not leave his nostrils, cloying, surrounding him. He was going to gag; he bent over making a coarse, retching noise.

He opened his watering eyes – and was confronted by a plastic sheet on which lay smaller monkey heads, colobus – smoked like the gorilla head – delicate duiker antelopes, lizards, porcupine and pangolin. A whole variety of animals as though the forests had been greedily trawled like the sea, and everything caught in the drift net had been dumped here, and smoked.

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