Book: Michiel Heyns - Lost Ground

It has all the hallmarks of a great novel: murder, sexual tension, racial conflict and the existential angst of a South African grappling with returning to the country of his birth after a long time living abroad.

Peter, a writer living in London, returns to his hometown, Alfredville, when his white cousin is murdered, apparently by her coloured husband who is a policeman.

Peter returns to write his career-defining story exploring how race relations have changed in the Little Karoo town since 1994.

But he soon realises everything isn’t as he first believed. Complicating matters is the fact his best friend at school is now head of the local police station – and he’s still peeved because Peter left.

It’s well written but because Heyns is such an acclaimed writer my expectations were too high.

I felt he could have fleshed out the characters more and I found it disappointing that I was able to guess who the killer was before the end.

Lost Ground by Michiel Heyns

Jonathan Ball, R151

Rating: 3/5