Kurtis Scaletta's Site

Info about me and my books

More about Liberia

Many of the books about Liberia are written for an adult audience and deal candidly with issues in Liberian history; review these before sharing with young readers. Items written for a juvenile audience are marked with an asterisk.

Non-Fiction Books and Films


Online Resources

More about Black Mambas and Other Snakes


Online Resources

Other References in the Novel

The idea of a Kaseng is a genuine folk belief of rural people in Liberia. I use the Kpelle term and Phonetic spelling used by George Schwab in Tribes of the Liberian Hinterland. I have also seen in spelled kaaseng, and Schwab himself provides alternate terms. There is a great more nuance to the belief than Linus fully understands or than is represented in my novel.


The game the boys play is a fictional game based on real books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Role playing games were very popular with the American kids in Liberia, and most were explicitly or tacitly based on popular books. I played Dungeon & Dragons, based on the Lord of the Rings series; The Call of Cthulhu, based on the stories of H.P. Lovecraft, and Top Secret, based on the James Bond books by Ian Fleming. As far as I know, there was no game based on Burroughs’ work, but there should have been.

The first two Pellucidar books are now in the public domain:

Jimmy Cliff

Most of the songs Linus hears in the book are by Reggae legend Jimmy Cliff, who had spent time in Africa and was very popular in Liberia in the early 1980s. Every person I knew in Liberia finds Cliff’s music inseparable from their memories of Monrovia, particularly “Reggae Night” (which is not featured in Mamba Point because it was not released until 1983). The songs Linus hears are among Cliff’s best known songs, including:

  • “You Can Get It If You Really Want It” (Cliff covered this early ska hit by Desmond Dekker)
  • “Many Rivers to Cross”
  • “No Woman, No Cry” (Cliff covered this Bob Marley classic)

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