Lemmer is a professional bodyguard. Silent, invisible, he never gets involved. Emma le Roux is convinced she's seen her brother on the news as a suspect in the recent killing of four poachers. But her brother is supposed to have died 20 years ago.
When le Roux hires Lemmer to watch her back while she goes looking for answers, it becomes clear someone wants to keep them in the dark. And when that someone tries to murder them both, for once in his life Lemmer steps out of the shadows.
©2007 Deon Meyer; Translation: K.L. Seegers (P)2010 HighBridge Company
"Top-notch." (Kirkus Reviews)
“A big, sexy novel . . . two compelling characters, Lemmer and Emma le Roux—but there’s another character, and that’s contemporary South Africa itself. You’ve got race, reconciliation, resentment, environment, tourism—they’re all propelling this novel along.” (The World, NPR)
“Meyer’s stellar stand-alone thriller delivers muscular prose with a hero to match.” (Publishers Weekly)
Deon Meyer writes a great story. Having grown up in central Africa in the 70s and 80s with South Africa closed off as a mysterious, inaccessible, veiled land to the south, these stories paint revealing and enchanting pictures of the people, place and transition to the new reality of today's South Africa. He shows with effortless grace how the complexity of the country's history looms imposingly in each character's journey through life. The people he describes are full, rich, flawed, sympathetic and compelling. The context of class and race from Afrikaner, Zulu, Xhosa, English in which the characters operate is complex and satisfyingly surprising. Meyer perfectly captures the immense presence of the sky, landscape and nature that one feels when in Africa. All of this rich layering of character, language and history bring the story to life to the point where you can almost feel, smell and taste the air, heat and dust. And the thrill of the chase makes for long nights when it is nearly impossible to switch off the iPod.
Simon Vance is an excellent reader and I enjoy listening to him immensely particularly when the characters speak in variations of British accents. Vance is not the right narrator for a story that requires a native South African's facility with regional and tribal accents. Listen to Saul Reichlin read "Dead Before Dying". There is a difference in the way a poor white from the Cape flats speaks compared with a farmer from deep in Kwazulu. The accents and regionalisms are as important in telling these stories as the narrative and Vance doesn't come close to Reichlin's rich and textured delivery.
I listened to this one because I liked Thirteen Hours so much. It didn't disappoint--I love this author and this narrator!
Meyer writes an interesting story, but we came out of it believing that we had some understanding of life in South Africa. The "mystery" is intriguing, but the characters more so.
I enjoy the puzzle pieces created by Meyer in his novels. They are never clear and always intriguing. The action packed books aw evenly divided between well thought strategy and physical execution. Worth reading.
I want to be clear: Simon Vance is an excellent narrator, but for a South African listening to a South African story with South African characters, I could not get passed the first few chapters. These books need to be narrated by a South African, or the brilliant Saul Reichlin who is an absolute master in the South African accent department.
Bring back Saul or get a South African narrator for Deon Meyer's books. His stories are great, but an appropriate narrator (even a very good one like Vance) takes the joy away from the book.
The characters and the story has enough turns to keep you listening, the thing is that they are not that interesting, a book like this should keep you on the edge, wanting to know what will happen next. Not this book.
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