Gripping, gritty and pacey

2011-05-11 00:00

AND so Mike Nicol’s Revenge trilogy has reached its conclusion. But don’t go looking for tidy, happy endings — he doesn’t deal in them.

When we left Mace Bishop at the end of Killer Country, his wife Oumou had just been murdered, on the instructions of the sinister Sheemina February. Mace is not doing well. His relationship with his teenage daughter is bad and she needs much more than a grieving father can give. The security company he runs with Pylon Buso, his friend from the old days of MK and gun running, is hardly flourishing. They can’t access their illegal offshore funds and then someone attempts to hijack clients Mace and Pylon are supposed to be guarding, and Pylon takes a bullet.

Of course, nothing is quite as it seems in Mace and Pylon’s world. Are their Native American clients really just here to try to muscle in on a casino deal? And their other current client, who is tendering for a government weapons’ system contract, wants them to look after his IT partner, who may be a wanted war criminal.

It’s all a bit of a mess for Mace and Pylon, and what they don’t see (but maybe should) is that the spider-like February is currently sitting in the centre of her web and orchestrating their downfall. She particularly has Mace in her sights, wanting revenge for the (very) rough justice he meted out to her in the MK camps when he suspected she was an apartheid spy.

Nicol’s bleak tale moves inexorably to a climax. This is Cape Town as the tourists and locals alike don’t want to see it: grim, venal and violent. Anyone and everyone can be bought, and even the weather isn’t so wonderful. The Revenge trilogy is gripping and pacey, but perhaps a little too bleak. There’s not much humour here, although a couple of bounty hunters who are inadvertently queering Mace and Pylon’s pitch, offer the odd gloomy laugh.

Still, if you like your chillers icy and the realism gritty, they don’t come much colder and grittier than this.

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