It’s a busy time at work, so I’ve retrenched somewhat to a diet of thrillers and police procedurals as my ageing brain can’t cope with much else at the end of the day. These are a couple of the best I’ve read this year, though.
Meyer’s main character is Benny Griessel who has many of the traditional flaws and foibles of a leading police character (alcoholic, failing marriage, love of music) but somehow has more depth and substance than many of these similar types. In essence, the characters are truly believable and the reader is that much more engaged & invested. As with all the best crime writers, I also feel like I’ve learned a huge amount about Cape Town and the reality of life in South Africa (Meyer writes in Afrikaans).
Thirteen Hours concerns the murder of an American backpacker, and the chase of a second: crimes that quickly escalate to national and international politics, and into the depths of the black market travel industry. I thought it was brilliant: fast-paced, gripping, excellently plotted, and with a heart-thumping finale. I obviously recommend reading the Griessel books in order (these are numbers 2 & 3) but this is probably my favourite so far – the chases, the intrigue, the emotion and the interplay are all fantastic. 8/10
7 Days is also pretty good and well above your normal thriller-by-numbers fare. There’s more character exploration in this one, and more of Griessel’s private life, which is by its nature a little more inward looking and less fast-paced, but this is still a great whodunnit mystery, centred around a beautiful lawyer, an unsolved murder, and a sniper taking potshots at policemen because of an unclear vendetta. It’s slightly more complex and multi-stranded than Thirteen Hours, but probably loses out simply on pure page-turning, knuckle-clenching drama. Still, you could do a lot worse – and I didn’t guess who till very near the end… 7/10
Till next time…