Saturday, August 25, 2012

"Seven lonely nights make one lonely me." Song lyrics

Deon Meyer is a story teller. His descriptions of South African life and philosophy is well described in this novel, "Seven Days."

Meyer isn't afraid to take on various aspects of the South African landscape. He digs into investments by black-only owned businessmen, politicians with links to the Communist Party and the difficulties seen by people fighting alcoholism.

The story begins with someone accusing the police department of a cover-up of the murder of Henneke Sloet-an attractive attorney who was stabbed to death in her luxury apartment.

South African homicide detective, Benny Griessel is assigned to the case but it seems as if there were no leads.

With the delay in the investigation, a sniper begins shooting policemen. He sends emails to the police that he will continue to shoot police officers unless they arrest the person who killed Sloet.

Benny is a member of the Hawks. This is a group of South African police officers who take on sensitive cases and high profile cases. Benny is a recovering alcoholic and as he begins work on the case, he is seeing a woman named Alexia. He met her after her husband's death, which she wrongfully felt she was responsible for. She is also an alcoholic and a singer. Benny is trying to get her back on the wagon but his time spent on the case, doesn't give him the time he needs to give Alexia the support to fight against the temptation of alcohol.

Benny's team learns that Hanneke worked for a law firm that was involved in a major transaction with a black owned business. Benny's team researches public pension funds and the manner in which people are selected to the boards of these funds and then add their other friends to the boards so when there are proposals, they are carried by a friendship rather than a business purpose.

Where so many protagonists of police procedurals are self assured, Benny has doubts about his abilities which makes him more normal and makes us want to support his effort to get the job done.

There is good suspense as Benny tries to find Hennek's killer before more police officers are shot and a secondary story of trying to find the sniper.

The story is told at a liesurly pace and this seems to represent the style of life in South Africa but underneath that relaxed pace, is the heart pounding effort to find a killer and learn the motives of why someone would kill a person as well thought of as was Henneke Sloet.


Heather said...

i recently listened to an audiobook set in South Africa. At first i was surprised at the brutallity of the murderer, but upon reflection it was an accurate portrayal of reality. i will have to read a book by this author.

ps, i like your picture from the book signing.

Michael Draper said...

Hi Heather,
I found this author to be very entertaining. If I were to pick one of his books to recommend to start with, it would be "Thirteen Hours" which won the Barry Award for best thriller.


katsrus said...

Sounds like a very interesting and emotional book. Will have to add it to my reading.
Sue B

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