by Deon Meyer
I’ve read a few books by South African authors. This one is definitely on the top of the heap. Mr. Meyer does an excellent job of drawing the reader into the story. He uses a multi-ethnic cast of characters to bring the diversity of Cape Town, South Africa to life. His characters have an authentic feel. You like them.
Captain Benny Griessel and the rest of the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigations (DPCI), commonly called the Hawks, have to fight against government corruption and public preconceptions. They have to dodge officials that want to shut down their investigation, and they know that nearly everyone else wants to bury the truth, but if they succumb to pressure, more people will die, and the corrupt officials and organized criminals will go free. They are the good guys, so they press forward.
Cobra is a difficult book to initially get into. Mr. Meyer uses quite a bit of South African slang and Afrikaans phrases. He has a glossary in the back of the book, but looking up each word gets tedious, and slows down the book. So I ended up just reading them phonically, and acting like they were spoken words that I didn’t understand. I got the gist of them, and just kept on reading. Once I started doing that, everything flowed much better.
Mr. Meyer uses a changing “Point of View” type of writing to build tension and keep your interest as the story unfolds. As he gets to the climax, he cuts rapidly from scene to scene, and that keeps the action at a frantic pace. You have to keep reading, you just don’t want to stop. It works very well.
The Hawks are a bunch of well-rounded characters. Mr. Meyer isn’t afraid to give them real personalities, warts and all. But their strongest character trait is that they all really care, and want to be the best cops that they can be. I feel like I want to read more of the books in this series.
The storyline is very engaging. Mr. Meyer has the ability to write an exciting, fast paced story, but still makes you care about his characters. He also gives you a look into life in Cape Town. You feel that you get to know the area through his eyes.
I really enjoyed Cobra, and think that you will too. I give it 4 1/2 Stars out of 5, and A Big Thumbs Up! If you are will to put in a little work at the beginning, you will be well rewarded.
I received this book for free from the publisher, in return for an honest review.
Celebrated as the “King of South African crime,” Deon Meyer is a world-class writer whose page-turning thrillers probe the social and racial complexities of his native country. In his latest novel, the bodies of three people are found at an exclusive guest house in the beautiful Franschhoek wine valley. Two of them were professional bodyguards, but the British citizen they were meant to be protecting is nowhere to be found; left behind are his brand new passport, new suitcase, and new clothes. And the spent shell cases bear a chilling engraving: the flaring head of a spitting cobra.
Meanwhile, in Cape Town, a skilled pickpocket is using his considerable talents to put his younger sister through school. But one day he is caught in the act. Security guards begin to question him, only to be killed with consummate ease by a stranger who leaves behind the distinctive shell cases.
With the help of his colleagues, Detective Benny Griessel rushes to untangle a case that only grows more complex. The British man’s passport turns out to be a fake, but the British consulate is decidedly unhelpful. And then the pickpocket’s sister is abducted. From Cape Town’s famous waterfront to a deadly showdown on a suburban train, Cobra hurtles towards a shocking finale—and someone may not make it out alive.
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press (October 7, 2014)
Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.4 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
About the Author
Deon Meyer was born in the South African town of Paarl in the winelands of the Western Cape in 1958, and grew up in Klerksdorp, in the gold mining region of Northwest Province.
After military duty and studying at the Potchefstroom University, he joined Die Volksblad, a daily newspaper in Bloemfontein as a reporter. Before becoming a full-time crime author in 2009 he also worked as press liaison, advertising copywriter, creative director, Internet strategist, and brand consultant. Deon completed an honours degree in History (UFS), and an MA in Creative Writing at the US.
He wrote his first book when he was 14 years old, and bribed and blackmailed his two brothers into reading it. They were not impressed (hey, everybody is a critic …)
Heeding their wisdom, he did not write fiction again until he was in his early thirties, when he started publishing short stories in South African magazines.
“I still believe that is the best way to learn the craft of writing. Short stories teach you a lot about story structure – and you have limited space to develop character and plot,” says Deon.
In 1994 he published his first Afrikaans novel, which has not been translated, “simply because it was not good enough to compete on the international market. However, it was a wonderful learning experience”.
All later novels have been translated into 27 languages, including English, French, German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Mandarin, Korean, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Russian, Finnish, Czech, Romanian, Slovakian and Bulgarian.
He has written several feature film screenplays based on his short stories, including Jakhalsdans, Die Ballade van Robbie de Wee, and Die Laaste Tango (he also directed the latter), and two series for television – Orion (based on Dead at Daybreak) and Transito. The film rights of Thirteen Hours have been sold to an international production company, and most of his other novels have been optioned for movies.
Deon lives near Cape Town. His big passions are motorcycling, music (he is a Mozart fanatic, but loves rock ‘n roll too), reading, cooking and rugby (he unconditionally supports the national Springbok team and the Free State Cheetahs provincial team).
Book Description and Details are from Amazon. Cobra