But when Kalahari game rangers stumble on a human corpse midmeal, it turns out the murder wasn't perfect after all. Enough evidence is left to suggest foul play. Detective David "Kubu" Bengu of the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department is assigned to the case.
The detective's personality and physique match his moniker. The nickname "Kubu" is Setswana for "hippopotamus" - a seemingly docile creature, but one of the deadliest on the continent. Beneath Kubu's pleasant surface lies the same unwavering resolve that makes the hippopotamus so deceptively dangerous. Both will trample everything in their path to reach an objective.
From the sun-baked riverbeds of the Kalahari to the highest offices of an international conglomerate, Kubu follows a blood-soaked trail in search of answers. Beneath a mountain of lies and superstitions, he uncovers a chain of crimes leading to the most powerful figures in the country - influential enemies who will kill anyone in their way.
A memorable detective makes his debut in this gritty, mesmerizing thriller. Set amid the beauty and darkness of contemporary Africa, A Carrion Death is the first entry in an evocative new series cutting to the heart of today's Botswana - a modern democracy threatened by unstable neighbors, poachers, and diamond smugglers. Those trying to expose the corrupt ringleaders will find themselves fighting for their lives.
©2008 Michael Sears and Stanley Raynes Trollip; (P)2008 Tantor
"Intricate plotting, a grisly sense of realism, and numerous topical motifs...make this a compulsively readable novel." (Publishers Weekly)
"A first novel saturated with local color....[Audiences] may be lured to Africa by the landscape, but it takes a great character like Kubu to win our loyalty." (The New York Times Book Review)
I essentially enjoyed this book.... The story was interesting, fun and engrossing. The characters were distinctive and entertaining (though the descriptions of Kubu's food obsessions grew a bit weary). But the storyline eventually out-complexed itself, leaving a muddled mass of dead bodies, confusing motives and a notable lack of clear resolution. There were ultimately so many amorphous twists and turns in the plot that it became very challenging to keep track of what was going on at any given moment, only to have it NOT really be very cleared up in the end. Enjoyable, but ultimately disappointing. It was more or less a worthy listen, but I'm looking to see this author improve his game a bit in the future... As a final note, the narrator did a great job cleanly conveying both the characters and the story in his pleasant british/S. African accent. It made the lack of solid resolution more tolerable...
Whats begins as a promising murder mystery loses its way in the desert. It's in the spirit of Bosch and Elvis Cole, but not nearly as good.
For such a long book, the characters are surprisingly underdeveloped and cliched--the overbearing police supervisor, the nerdy academic, the greedy CEO, the eccentric pathologist etc. I really didn't feel anything for the characters as they get killed off.
As others have pointed out, the explicit sex scenes are a bit cringey and completely unnecessary.
I loved the narration--I'm a fan of Simon Prebble and he was one of the reasons I bought the book. This is my first fiction listen from him and his female voices are not perfect, but his various accents are spot on.
The book could have been much more, but I won't be following any more of Kubu's adventures.
music nut, history buff
I liked Det. Kubu and the story was consistently exciting. I will be sure to read the rest of this series.
This was a great intricate detective story in an exotic setting. I believe that I learned much about the atmosphere in that Southern African part of the continent. Learning about a locale that I previously had very little knowledge about is one of the criteria that I use in choosing a book. The characterizations were extremely well-done. I really wish that I knew a character such as Kubu and his family in real life. We would get along very well.
Often, a novel will come to a conclusion very abruptly, as though there was a publisher's timetable that had to be met. Everything is summed up in a paragraph or two. Here, there was no indication of that. The story was very nicely concluded and did not lead to a
Obviously, it was the 1st character Kubu (Hippopotamus) the detective, and also his wife. They were people that I would really like to know and call friends in real life. I even liked their dog.
This is my first experience with Simon Prebble and I thought he did an exceptional job in distinguishing between the various characters and their accents. He did a very good job with his interpretations.
Unfortunately, I really do not have time to listen to any book in one sitting. But, in this case, I found that I put off a number of pressing things in order to finish the book. I have no regrets in that regard, as it was very well-rewarded.
This would make for a great movie. But, I am not sure that there is anyone in Hollywood that would be up to it, without destroying it.
The other authors that I have liked for much for the same reasons as for this novel are:
Amitov Ghosh, Bryce Courtenay, and Patrick O'Brian. The books that I have read by them are not
Book okay but too long. Good story line but language & sex unnecessary. Entertaining at times. Able to figure out ending too early. NOT as good as No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series.
mystery, history, and sci fi fan
I've been purchasing audio books for many years and I have to say this was the most disappointing mystery/procedural I've ever heard. The book got good reviews but there are major flaws. There is no suspense or mystery to the book - it unfolds, slowly answers are obtained, and then it goes on and on before petering out at the end. I've always stuck with audiobooks giving them a chance to entertain but this one got worse and it progressed until I couldn't wait for it to end. Very disappointed.
Actually a 2 1/2 star. This book has great potential, but just drags on too long. It has wonderful characters and an interesting location but the actual story became boring.
Listening to "A Carrion Death," I couldn't help thinking about Alexander McCall Smith's "Number One Ladies Detective Agency" series, only because both stories are set in Botswana, by authors who know the country and the people well. Of course, little else links the two stories, since "A Carrion Death" deals with an entirely more serious mystery than any of Precious Ramotswe's cases. But, having never before known a thing about Botswana, I appreciated having read Smith's books first. Both authors clearly love the country and her people. Michael Sears and Stanley Raynes Trollip have devised an intriguing, complex mystery story, and written it well. It keeps one riveted to the end. I highly recommend "A Carrion Death" to all mystery lovers. I had never heard of this audiobook before I purchased it from Audible.com; but when I saw that it is read by the wonderful Simon Prebble I couldn't resist it. Simon Prebble has a beautiful, smooth, versatile voice that can assume any timbre and accent to delineate any number of characters. All by himself he creates a whole cast of actors -- good guys, bad guys, males, and females -- along with all their emotional and motivational subtleties. Listen to this book. While it may not have the perfect resolution, it none-the-less repays your time.
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