Deon Meyer’s new thriller fails to impress

2011-12-21 00:00

HAVING built up an ­international reputation — and the sales to go with it — Deon Meyer’s thrillers are picked up with some anticipation.

The plot of his latest, Trackers, unfolds in a series of ­inter-related stories, each with a distinct central character.

There’s Milla who leaves her abusive husband, finds a job with a government­intelligence outfit and is caught up in a terrorist ­operation aimed at the FIFA World Cup; Lemmer the bodyguard cooling off in the Karoo, who gets whisked off to smuggle some rhino from Zim­babwe, while Mat Joubert is an ­ex-cop working in the private sector, looking for a missing husband.

It’s not an unusual thriller format to take seemingly separate threads, run them in a parallel and then have them begin to tie up with each other. But here, Meyer runs them consecutively, and the links only become evident at the conclusion of each section.

Unfortunately, this approach destroys any forward momentum, and matters tend to grind to a halt before coming up to speed on the new angle.

The final segment featuring Joubert and the hunt for the missing husband is a near stand-alone story until the final pages, when a link to the others pops up.

But even then, matters fail to be ­resolved satisfactorily, presumably paving the way for a sequel.

Meyer’s writing is efficient and his South Africa rings true, but with Trackers he seems to have lost the thriller trail.

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