Pacy, plausible SA thrillerbook review:

2008-11-26 00:00

DEON Meyer is one South African author who has broken firmly into the overseas publishing market. His novels are first published locally in Afrikaans — this one came out last year as Onsigbaar — and then translated into English for an English publication.

This is the first of Meyer’s novels I have read, and it is a competently executed thriller. The action starts when a young woman, Emma le Roux, hires Lemmer, a maverick private detective who works for a security company and has a past as a ministerial bodyguard in the bad old days, to guard her. She has become convinced that her brother, who went missing in the Kruger Park near the Mozambique border some 20 years before, presumably killed by poachers, is alive. She saw his face on television, a suspect in a murder case. And now, because she has started to ask some questions, it seems that someone is trying to kill her.

And so Lemmer and Emma head off to the Lowveld, where they find themselves in more and more danger. Meyer cleverly brings in a major unsolved South African mystery and the problems of poaching and there are plenty of twists in the plotting to keep the reader hooked. South Africa, with its violent past and present, makes a suitable setting for this kind of book — things that might not be believable elsewhere could easily happen here. The characterisation is also believable, with Lemmer in particular being a powerful presence in the book.

It all adds up to a pacy, well-plotted thriller, with the familiarity of the setting giving an added something to local readers.

Margaret von Klemperer

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