Six-foot five-inch Thobela "Tiny" Mpayipheli was once a feared assassin and freedom fighter, trained by the Stasi and KGB. In post-apartheid South Africa, he’s happily working in a garage. But Tiny’s quiet domestic life is interrupted by a desperate plea from the daughter of a trusted old friend: He’s being held hostage after taking an incriminating hard drive and needs help. Tiny’s old training kicks in, and as he races across the South African landscape on a stolen BMW motorcycle to the rendezvous point, he is pursued by several interested and hostile forces, including South Africa’s Presidential Intelligence Unit. None of them have a clue what they’re up against.
©2002 Deon Meyer; translation copyright 2003, K. L. Seegers. Recorded by arrangement with Grove Press, a division of Grove/Atlantic, Inc. (P)2013 HighBridge Company
"This guy is really good. Deon Meyer hooked me with this one right from the start. Heart of the Hunter is a thriller with some weight attached, and that is a rare find." (Michael Connelly)
"Heart of the Hunter is the dark, explosive side of Alexander McCall Smith's Botswana books, as full of love for the vast beauty of the country but also riddled by the anger of South Africa's recent racial and political struggles." (Chicago Tribune)
I had high hopes for this one but it fell short. It builds and builds but never seems to hit its stride. Briefly, the protagonist has left his past as an assassin behind in the hopes he can live a peaceful life as a husband and father. As you may guess, it doesn't work out. His past comes back to haunt him and he's thrown into one last mission to save an old friend. Yes, its cliche. That's not my gripe. I was counting on the venerable old thriller formula to kill some time and lots of bad guys. It only did the former. The protagonist spends all of his time running and narrowly escaping the net set out before him. Every time opposing forces got close and I thought "okay finally, I've sat through back story, side plots, and building tension; here comes the pay off"... nothing happened. He evaded, or he confronted the enemy with his trade mark catch phrase "I don't want to hurt anyone". Indeed, he did the least aggressive thing possible every time. Its fine, unless you bought the book expecting a "one man army" action packed thriller and instead got a watered-down impotent kindergarten version of the same.
The only thing that kept me going was Simon Vance. I own every Bond novel he has read, and he again delivers an awesome performance. Still despite excellent narration, I couldn't give it anymore stars.
What an inspired production. Listened to the whole book the day I got it, and it didn't even seem like that long a day. Just about everything that can go wrong, does. And the villains all survive. And usually long chase scenes are such a bore. Guess I'll have to listen to it again to try to figure out why I liked it, because I don't think I should have. Gripping.
I have really enjoyed Deon Meyer's previous stories, and am surprised I have to ding this one. I never really got the plot line in this story, the main character one I liked, just did not do things a person with his background would have done, I never got the whole motive of the story. Even the ending left me flat, and I wanted to like this book, it just did not happen. The storyline was weak, the events were not believable, and the story was just hard to follow, there was to much attempt by the author to build excitement by throwing twist and turns into the plot to the point were nothing seemed to be built on any foundation and the main character was just out there driving around and getting nowhere and for no reason.
Hope the next Meyer story is back to form, I would recommend you skip this one.
Top 2 or 3
Too many to choose from.
This was such a thuroughly enjoyable listen I did not want it to end. They story is interesting with good subplots and some unforeseen twists. The characters come alive with the skill of the narrator. Simon Vance has just the right pacing and his variety and depth of voices for each character really immerse you in the story. The unfamiliar names and places roll off his tongue with such ease and melody it is just a treat to listen.
I highly recommend this book to everyone. It is time well spent.
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