South Africa’s ‘James Bond’

2010-12-29 00:00

DESCRIBED by one critic as being “like a rough-hewn South African James Bond”, Agent Kevin Durant, the protagonist of locally based author Trevor R. Corbett’s first foray into contemporary crime-thriller fiction operates inside a familiar world of corrupt politics and dodgy business dealings.

As a member of the National Intelligence Agency he has been tasked with monitoring the activities of Ali, a Durban businessman suspected of having illegal dealings with the Libyan government. These suspicions gain credence when Leila, a beautiful Libyan spy, turns up in the city, with her mysterious boyfriend in tow — a fact that does not escape the attention of the local CIA agent either.

Under pressure to find out what she is up to in South Africa, Durant does not realise his investigation has been compromised by a member of his own team. Adding to his problems, his wife, who has just had her first baby and is suffering from post-natal depression, wants him to spend more time at home, so he finds his loyalties being pulled in all directions.

Having worked on organised crime and corruption as an investigator in the NIA, Corbett, who holds an honours degree in criminology, writes from first-hand experience and his book is full of absorbing spook lore. Although, at times, it seems his knowledge of the world of spying inhibits him from risking the sometimes improbable dramatic developments that other writers relish, An Ordinary Day is still a highly proficient and readable debut.

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