Dead Before Dying

Narrated by: Simon Vance
Series: Benny Griessel Mysteries Series, Book 0, Mat Joubert, Book 1
Length: 10 hrs and 44 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (77 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Three men who have nothing in common are found murdered in Cape Town, and the string of vicious killings pushes the city toward panic. Captain Mat Joubert is left scrambling for answers in a case that might be his last chance to prove that his life's slow spiral will not pull him under.

©2006 Deon Meyer (P)2012 HighBridge Company

Critic Reviews

"A gritty existential tale with enough muscle for thriller fans and noir aficionados alike.... A bold, character-driven page-turner" ( Publishers Weekly)

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

South African mystery, very good.

Captain Matt Joulbert of the Capetown Police heads an investigation trying to figure out why several men, with seemingly no connection, are being murdered in the same exact way. While some people think it is a serial killer, Matt doesn’t think so. He is searching for, and finally finds, a connection between the victims which leads to finding the murderer. This may be Matt’s last case to prove that he hasn’t lost his touch as a top investigator. His wife died two years ago while on duty, and his life has been in a downward spiral ever since. In this book he is finally going to a therapist who may be able to help him pull his life together. These books about South Africa and Capetown are for the current period of time. They give us great scenic descriptions of South Africa and are also good police procedurals.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Crafted well, content limiting

Deon Meyer is a decent writer, and I like the fact that his books focus on a different person in the police department from one book to the next, yet still involve most of the subsequent co-workers in the storyline. The protagonist in this story carries the angst of loosing his wife in a murder while she was on the job, also as a police officer. As he tries to pull his life together he works out the clues to a tough case and faces a new and difficult boss. All of this with the backdrop of South African politics and culture. The book is fine, not great. It seems it takes a lot of lines of text to get from place to place in this book, nothing much happens for long stretches during which we are bludgeoned with the introspection of the main character. The ending as a bit of change up and so I will not spoil it here but it is worth the slog to get there.
If you like the genre, or are a Meyer fan go ahead with this one, but the story tends to be fairly grey for long stretches.
Recommended with caution

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Simon Vance should steer clear of South African accents

I have enjoyed many of Simon Vance’s narrations of other books but his awful attempt at doing the South African accent, which admittedly is a difficult one to master, and terrible mispronunciations of the names of people and places really ruined this audio book for me. Fortunately the storyline and it’s sub plots is so riveting that I managed to listen to the end. I regret having purchased another Deon Meyer audible book narrated by Mr Vance before listening to this one ... surely an actual South African with a grasp of South African accents would have been a far better choice !!

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Murder in South Africa

My first Deon Meyer novel. It was a unique experience. It was a solid police procedural. The characters are all flawed which works to its advantage and disadvantage. It works because it makes the characters more human, but it does seem to rely on them as one-trick ponies. I'm the fat guy who smokes. Now i need to clean my act up. I'm the drunk, I need to get sober. I'm the new leader, i will flex my muscles etc.

The central mystery of whodunit is pretty good. I think the officers are interesting flaws and all. I happen to think the villain is a left-field curve ball that while justified feels shoehorned in and really didn't work for me. I like the police work and the rest, but the villain and the motivations while genuine seemed like a last minute fix.