Avenging violence against children

2008-10-02 08:05

Set in an all too recognisable modern South Africa, Deon Meyer's latest crime thriller once again features former freedom fighter Thobela Mpayiphela.

When the child he has adopted as his own is killed in crossfire during an attempted robbery, Mpayiphela decides to exact revenge not only on the two perpetrators of the crime but on anyone else who has employed violence against children and somehow manages to escape justice. Using the traditional Zulu stabbing spear as his weapon of choice he sets about his business with grim purpose.

Detective Benny Griessel, a veteran of the force, is assigned to the case even though he is battling a drink problem and his family life is disintegrating. While following the trail his path crosses that of Christine, a call girl, one of whose clients happens to be a Colombian drug lord. Their meeting is to have far-reaching consequences.

Around these bare facts Meyer has constructed a stylish and fast-moving novel, one that is very South African in its diction, and characterisation and depiction of a society scarred by its recent history, and where violence seems to have become the accepted norm. Tough, well-written and extremely readable, it's a welcome addition to the local crime genre.

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