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The October Killings (Abigail Bukula Mysteries) Hardcover – January 18, 2011


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Product Details

  • Series: Abigail Bukula Mysteries (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (January 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312655959
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312655952
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.3 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,266,437 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. South African author Ebersohn kicks off a promising new series pairing psychologist Yudel Gordon, last seen in 1992's Closed Circle, with Abigail Bukula, chief director of South Africa's justice department, who can more than hold her own with the brilliantly eccentric Gordon. As a 15-year-old girl, Bukula survived a raid on an African National Congress house in Lesotho on October 21, 1985, thanks to the intervention of a white soldier, Leon Lourens. In 2005, Lourens seeks Bukula's help after learning that almost all his colleagues on the raid have been murdered on the exact anniversary of the assault. To catch the killer, Bukula hooks up with Gordon, who lost his government position with apartheid's end, to get access to the imprisoned commander of the attack, Marinus van Jaarsveld. The complexities of South Africa a decade after the end of white rule help fuel a compelling plot that builds to several dramatic climaxes. (Jan.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Lawyer Abigail Bakula has a high-profile post in the South African government’s Department of Justice, but just 15 years before, she was present when her father and many other blacks fighting apartheid were murdered by white security forces. Teenage Abby would also have been murdered, but Leon Lourens, a young white soldier, saved her. As this book opens, Abby is busy at work when Leon appears at her office. He tells her that he’s one of the last members of that security force left alive and that he expects to be killed in coming days. To keep her savior alive, she must revisit the darkest moments of her life. Abby teams up with quirky, aged prison psychologist Yudel Gordon to track down Michael Bishop, a mysterious and brutal white assassin who supported the anti-apartheid forces. Ebersohn, an established South African novelist, has created engaging characters; a gripping plot; a great backstory involving the country’s recent, violent past; and trenchant commentary on South Africa today. --Thomas Gaughan

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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It's a good story, with very, very interesting characters.
S. Farkash
I look forward to his next book, hopefully again featuring Abigail, Yudel and Freek.
Steele Curry
Furthermore, there exists good and evil people on both sides of the movement.
J. B. Hoyos

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. Farkash on January 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I really liked this book. I admit I was a little afraid that I'd be overwhelmed with language, but that wasn't the case. There is plenty, but it works in context and it's not impossible. Wessel Ebersohn crafted a great story and makes you feel like you understand the area and the people.

It's a good story, with very, very interesting characters. It started a little slowly, but in a way it reminded me of watching a foreign film so it just seemed to make sense as it meandered. The first half of the book lets you get to know the main characters well so that the second half, when it really picks up steam, you can enjoy the ride and know who's aboard with you. The book isn't long--so when I say first half I'm only talking about 125 pages or so, so when considering whether or not to read this, don't take that into consideration.

I'm not going to give away much here, the synopsis of the book says plenty. What I found compelling about the book was more what it showed, and what it made me want to learn. First of all, I find myself wishing I knew more about South Africa. I'm ashamed of how little I really do know. I remember when Nelson Mandela was freed, and I remember his election. Watching Invictus showed me how important he considered forgiveness in order for his country to move forward. That probably sums up practically everything I know. Wow, did this book not only open my eyes, but make me respect the people of South Africa for what they've gone through.
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Format: Hardcover
Abigail Bakula heads up the gender desk in South Africa's Justice Department in 2005 and her husband is a prominent newspaper editor. But when a hero's name surfaces at work, she's plunged right back to the night 20 years before when she, age 15, watched her father die in a raid on an ANC safe house.

When a frightened white man, Leon Lourens, comes to see her in fear for his life and tells her that members of the apartheid-government security squad present that night are being ritually executed one by one on the anniversary of the raid, Bakula needs no reminding as to who Lourens is.

He's the man who saved her life, standing up to his captain, Marinus van Jaarsveld, who is currently spending his days in maximum security at Pretoria Central Prison, having rejected the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and sworn to uphold his apartheid principles.

Feeling a chill to her deepest core, Bakula determines to save Lourens. But that's not the whole story and Bakula won't share the rest of it, not even with her husband.

Bakula teams up with a brilliant, eccentric veteran prison psychologist, Yudel Gordon (featured in a previous Ebersohn series set in the 1980s), to track down the killer in time to save Lourens. As time grows short the pace speeds up, but even more than action, the interest lies in the contrast between South Africa then and now - in some ways not so different, in others completely changed.

This is a character-driven narrative and Bakula is an interesting heroine in part because of her elite background. She spent most of her youth in private schools outside of South Africa, and is as frightened of township gangs as any middle-class white lady would be.
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Format: Hardcover
Wessel Ebersohn has delivered a polished diamond of a mystery novel that focuses on life in South Africa today and the repercussions of a violent event that occurred 20 years earlier in 1985. At 15 years-old, Abigail Bakula was one of the few survivors of a massacre of antiapartheid activists, thanks to the intervention of a young white soldier, Leon Lourens.

Abigail now holds a senior position in South Africa's Justice Department. One day, she learns from Lourens that all of the soldiers involved in that raid have been murdered with the exception of himself and the commanding officer who is in a high-security prison. The likely identity of the murderer is known to Abigail as Michael Bishop, a hitman employed by the country's liberation movement prior to Apartheid ending. This is the same person who liberated the survivors of the massacre in 1985 but also committed an act then that still haunts Abigail.

Lourens subsequently is abducted by a mysterious man posing as a police officer. Abigail enlists the support of Yudel Gordon, an eccentric former prison psychologist, and Freek Joraan, the highest-ranking white police officer in South Africa, to help her find Lourens before he is killed by the murderer.

Ebersohn is a brilliant storyteller who weaves a masterful, tautly written tale of suspense in The October Killings. I look forward to his next book, hopefully again featuring Abigail, Yudel and Freek.
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Format: Hardcover
Looking back, two decades, South Africa's justice department chief Justice Abigail Bukula knows she has come a long way. Back in 1985 in Lesotho, teenaged Bukula survived a raid on an African National Congress house due to the kindness of a white soldier, Leon Lourens, who was part of the assault.

In 2005, Lourens proves to Bukula that most of those who were with him on the attack have been murdered over the years on the anniversary of the raid. Bukola knows to end the serial killer's murdering spree she will need expert help. She turns to brilliant former prison psychologist Dr. Yudel Gordon for help as he has access to the imprisoned commander of the assault Marinus van Jaarsveld. Although he lost his job when Apartheid ended, Dr. Gordon agrees to assist Bukula.

The whodunit is excellent and will please readers but is more a tool to enable the audience to observe the radical changes and problems to overcome in South Africa not long after the Apartheid wall came crumbling down. Profound, fans will relish this terrific timely thriller (recent movie Invictus) as the return of Gordon after a three decade hiatus will send new fans seeking his 1980 cases (see Closed Circle, A Lonely Place to Die and Divide the Night).

Harriet Klausner
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The October Killings (Abigail Bukula Mysteries)
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