Book Review: My Life In Crime By John Kiriamiti


My life in Crime is a 1984 novel by author John Kiriamiti. It is a fictionalized account of Kiriamiti’s criminality in Kenya during the 1960s and 1970s.

John was a renowned bank robber back in the day and I can comfortably say that he did quite well as a robber. The book which is 234 pages long was originally published in 1984 but was later published by Spear publishers in 1990. He was the son to Anne Wanjiru, a teacher in Muran’ga, but both his parents were siblings. He started his vice after he dropped out of school and ran away from home to Nairobi to fend for himself and started as a pick pocket and later climbed the ladder to becoming a gang leader. He was then arrested in November 1970 on the eve of his wedding and was charged and imprisoned on 6th January 1971.



Right off the bat, this is a book that caught my eye and my mind. I will go ahead and brag about the fact that I read this book in a record of two hours and I was at work, supervising a job!

This is a book about John Kiriamiti, alias Jack Zolo, but throughout the book he gives himself so many names that I wouldn’t know which one to go by. This is a book that teaches and part of me feels bad that I had not come across it earlier.
It’s also the type of book that after reading you feel like you are able to oversee and organize some type of bank robbery somewhere. Even if you hate robbers, you will find yourself supporting his reasons and sitting at the edge of your seat or bed wishing him luck and hoping he does not caught.

What broke my heart is the fact he did not marry Milly, his first love.

When Milly and Jack decide to finally marry and the two make preparations for the ceremony, which is to take place in Thuita, Jack became involved in a skirmish with the police, who successfully shot and immobilized him.

Jack was then arrested and transported to the police car to take him to the Central Police station where he was questioned and tortured on the day he was to be wed to Milly.

He was later tried and sentenced to twenty years in prison and forty-eight lashes of the cane.


One of the few lessons I have learnt from the book and also from studying people who do terrible things is that they are all too human and that we are all capable of doing almost anything or even worse if we are put in the same circumstances.

Following an interview with him and Dr. King’ori, John (because I now feel like we are homies) affirms that a child who can steal from his parents can steal from anyone else.

He goes on ahead and says that everyone has a little theft I them, only that we do not promote it.

Above all, one major lesson is that when flourishing, be very careful who you tell because from his experience, the theft were causes of an insider leaking the gist from within.


This is a book I would recommend to anyone who likes reading and I hear there is a film about it! (I’ve posted the link to the trailer above) so watch out for it if reading isn’t for you!



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