It is indeed – but it certainly won’t be the last! From the opening page I was drawn in and didn’t want to put the book down until I was done – something that doesn’t happen as frequently as it used to! Nowadays I often need to read 50-odd pages as a warm-up, as it were – but that wasn’t the case with Meyer. It’s straight in, meeting compelling characters and fascinating situations. It also makes a pleasant change reading a book set in Africa (I think the last novels I read set there were those of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s – a very different genre!)
So the book kicks off with a hearing for Benny Griessel, Meyer’s main character, is that right?
Yes, and I suspect this will be a continuation of the events in his previous novel. He and his partner, Cupido, are punished by being demoted, which means removal from their beloved Hawks elite force. They’re also transferred to a small town called Stellenbosch, where they’re expectation is that they’ll be dealing with drinks and shoplifters. Of course, things turn out to be a wee bit more dramatic than that…
Who else features in the book?
We have an ambitious real.estate agent called Sandra Steenborg based in Stellenbosch. Many in the town are struggling financially due to the nefarious financial dealings of local multi-millionaire, Jasper Boonstra. His financial difficulties are having a knock-on effect on the entire local economy, as he is the main local employer. Mortgages and car loans are going unpaid, as are nursery fees, and the previously wealthy town is feeling the pinch.
He summons Sandra, who’s the sole breadwinner in the household, her husband having taken a sabbatical from his academic career to write a book, and offers her the opportunity to sell a large estate which produces wine. However, she must sign a non -disclosure agreement, and the seller is not to be revealed. Should she succeed, she will have nothing to worry about financially for a long time…
So what cases await our banished officers in the beautiful new district that’s now their base?
A student, Callie de Bruin, has gone missing, reported by his concerned mother – and in this case, it’s definitely not a case of a night out running into a few nights out…This boy is a dedicated student and also a considerate son, and his mother is adamant this behaviour is utterly out of character, and all signs point to her being right. There’s definitely something off about this disappearance.
So are you a convert to Deon Meyer’s Benny Griessel series?
I certainly am! The two main strands of the book – that of the estate agent, and the disappearance of the student – tie together well at the end, and leave you feeling satisfied.
There’s also a dramatic ending, which is exactly what you want in this sort of crime fiction. Translated from Afrikaans, it’s done so seemlessly, with a few Afrikaans phrases left in for added authenticity.
It’s a book I enjoyed enormously, and I’m pleased to see I have four other Deon Meyer books which I will get round to. It’s always interesting to find a series set in a new country, too.
Meyer is immensely skilled at creating a compelling storyline with a variety of strands, and the way everything fitted together so well at the end showed you were in the hands of a master crime writer. If, like me, you’re late to the party, I’d urge you to give him a go, particularly if you enjoy discovering crime fiction set in new places.
Absolutely don’t miss it!
With thanks to Sophie at Ransom PR for inviting me to participate in this blog tour, and to Hodder and Stoughton for the ARC. This in no way influenced my opinion of this book, and this is an unbiased review.
BLURB: From internationally acclaimed crime writer Deon Meyer, a new thriller featuring superstar detectives Benny Griessel and Vaughn Cupido in the wake of their impulsive pursuit of state corruption that has left their reputations hanging in the balance. Having jeopardized their careers in an unauthorized investigation that threatened to reveal the corruption in South Africa’s halls of power, Benny Griessel and Vaughn Cupido have been demoted from the elite Hawks police unit. While waiting to be transferred from Cape Town to seemingly mundane duty in Stellenbosch, Griessel receives a disturbing, anonymous letter: “I can only trust you and Captain Cupido. There is an adder in our bosom. Be careful of phone calls.”Assigned to investigate the disappearance of Callie de Bruin, a young university student and brilliant computer programmer, they hit dead ends until the trail, including the death of a fellow officer, leads to a series of gun heists and the alarming absence of certain weapons from the police registry, the ramifications of which could be devastating.As Griessel and Cupido intensify their search for de Bruin, real estate agent Sandra Steenberg confronts her own crisis: state corruption has caused the real estate market to crash, exacerbating the dire financial straits facing her family. When billionaire Jasper Boonstra contacts her to represent a major property he wants to sell, she pushes aside her concerns about his notorious reputation as playboy and swindler. And then Boonstra himself disappears, and Griessel is forced to juggle between Boonstra’s bitter wife, protective lawyer, and Steenberg, the last person to see him alive.With propulsive and intricate plotting, sharp prose, and an ending that takes one’s breath away just when the dust seems to have settled, The Dark Flood spotlights the state capture and corruption that has overtaken the country, lending political weight to a powerful story.