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Random Violence (A PI Jade de Jong Novel) Hardcover – April 1, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Set in contemporary South Africa, Mackenzie's triumphant debut introduces PI Jade de Jong. After roaming the world for a decade, Jade returns home to Johannesburg to take her revenge on the convicted murderer, about to be released from prison, who she believes killed her highly respected police commissioner father. Meanwhile, David Patel, her father's former assistant, asks Jade for help in investigating the murder of Annette Botha, gunned down one night after getting out of her car to unlock a malfunctioning automatic gate outside her home. David and Jade later learn that robbers killed Botha's brother a few years earlier, and that the dead woman recently retained a detective, who has since disappeared. The plot has more than its fair share of nice twists, and Mackenzie does a superb job of making the reader care for her gutsy lead while offering a glimpse at life in South Africa after apartheid. Readers will wish Jade a long fictional career. (Apr.)
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Review

"Complicated and tough and real."
—Boston Bibliophile

“A new generation of crime writers is trying to put apartheid and modern South Africa in focus ... [Random Violence is] a thought-provoking book.”
Portland Oregonian

"Mackenzie, who has lived in South Africa from an early age, plays her hand deftly, with a page turner of a story, intriguing characters—Jade is particularly memorable—and a wealth of South African color, including its appalling racial history. At once brutal and beautiful, Random Violence leaves nothing to chance in hooking the reader."
Richmond Times Dispatch

“With surprising characters and an intriguing plot, you’ll be guessing right up until the very end.”
Tulsa Examiner

Starred Review: "South African writer Mackenzie has created a strong female character with amazing resilience, unusual friends, and incredible luck.... Gripping."
Library Journal

"Beautiful and haunting... Each chapter is filled with wonders and horrors masterfully told in darkly poetic prose, with absolutely no wastage of space permitted. She has created a terrific and believable P.I. in the headstrong and somewhat intimidating Jade de Jong; a P.I. we will no doubt be seeing plenty of in the future. A host of colorful and memorable characters fill the pages, alongside Jade, making this a gripping and page-turning read, despite the bleakness of place and events via post-apartheid South Africa."
New York Journal of Books

Starred Review: "Set in contemporary South Africa, Mackenzie's triumphant debut
introduces PI Jade de Jong.... The plot has more than its fair share of nice twists, and Mackenzie does a superb job of making the reader care for her gutsy lead while offering a glimpse at life in South Africa after apartheid. Readers will wish Jade a long fictional career."
Publishers Weekly


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: A PI Jade de Jong Novel (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Crime; First Edition edition (April 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569476292
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569476291
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,221,745 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jassy Mackenzie is from a family where books weren't just more important than television, they were so important that television was banned from the house.

Jassy was born in Zimbabwe and moved to South Africa when she was eight years old. She is now 40, and lives in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg with her partner Dion, two horses and two cats. She was inspired to write her first novel, Random Violence, after getting hijacked at gunpoint in her own driveway.

She has a day job - editing a hair and beauty magazine - but is lucky enough to work from home, so instead of sitting in traffic for hours every day, she stays in bed and writes.

Random Violence, which introduced the renegade PI Jade de Jong, was shortlisted for Best First Book in the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, Africa region, and received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal.

Her second book, My Brother's Keeper, (not yet available in the USA) was shortlisted for Best First Novel - Paperback Original in the International Thriller Awards.

Jassy's third book, Stolen Lives, the second in the Jade de Jong series, will be published in April 2011. She is currently hard at work on book number four, The Fallen.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 3, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Jade de Jong is a welcome addition to the P.I. genre. She's hard-boiled, exercising a moral flexibility when the situation demands it but not so hard-boiled that she is without human feelings. Readers who like a strong sense of location in their crime fiction (and I'm one) won't be disappointed with the setting or the way Mackenzie weaves in post-apartheid social and cultural adjustments as well as South Africa's extraordinarily violent crime problem. Random Violence has an excellent plot with two story lines that are both compelling and a pacing that made me keep reading. My only disappointment is that the next book in the series isn't immediately available.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Gloria Feit VINE VOICE on June 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Jade deJong , the headstrong protagonist of this terrific new novel, is a p.i. who has left her native South Africa, but after a ten-year absence has returned after, most recently, doing surveillance work in England. Her father, before his death, had been police commissioner in Johannesburg, described as a city filled with crime and brutality. The tale opens with the brutal murder of a young woman in what initially appears to have been an attempted carjacking, the first but hardly the last violent act in this novel.

Jade, thirty-four years old, has long-standing relationships with two men, who couldn't be less alike: David, a cop who trained under her father's mentorship and is now a Superintendent in the Johannesburg Central police headquarters, with whom she has a chaste friendship which she would like to see evolve into something more intimate; and Robbie, a small-time gangster whose own attempts at intimacy she rejects, but who serves a purpose. She has timed her return home with the expected release from prison of a convicted murderer who she blames for her father's death. Ultimately, her sense of justice, and her determination to see it done, provides her motivation despite some narrow escapes and the continuing jeopardy in which she finds herself.

The author, who was raised in South Africa, has written a debut novel which brings the country to gritty life, a fast-paced and gripping tale with memorable characters. Readers, including this one, can look forward to her follow-up entry in the series, due out in 2011.

Recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ed Battistella on February 8, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Jassy McKenzie’s first novel feature Jade de Jong, a tough private investigator who returns from life abroad to her hometown of Johannesburg. Her late father’s protégée—and her unrequited love—persuades her to help investigate a car-jacking turned murder. De Jong digs into the crime, which turns into a series of brutal murders (and highlights a fine psychopathic villain). The story is fast-paced and rough-edged with some nice surprises (but at least one that savvy readers will catch midway). What especially sets the book apart is the fine social detail of post-apartheid Johannesburg, with John D. MacDonald-like observations of life in South Africa.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert B. Miller on October 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found this story pretty shallow. I enjoyed some of the insights into SA, and I know it's a violent place, but I did not finish the book wanting to know more about Jade. She seems more like a comic book character than someone I'd like to follow around.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kimberly on February 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover
About a year ago I stumbled across the Jade de Jong series but it took me until a couple weeks ago to finally get around to reading the first novel in the series a try. I'm always on the look out for great South African authors and I have to say Jassy Mackenzie is a new favourite of mine.

Random Violence was a fast past intricate novel with a wonderful female sleuth as the lead character. Jade de Jong returns to her homeland of South Africa after 10 years away working all over the globe. Upon her return she's met with all the changes that have happened in her country including in the lives of the one person she cares about the most.

I loved the mystery behind the slue of murders that seem to be occurring as well as the relationship between Jade and David who was once her father's right hand man and her best friend. I really enjoyed seeing the ups and downs as they got used to be around one another again after such a long time apart as well as seeing how much respect they had for one another. I have to say that Jade and David are probably two of my favourite crime solving partners after reading Random Violence. Both are intelligent, witty and savvy and they both have different skills plus the chemistry between them is great.

I thought that the fact that the author also took the time to touch briefly on the political background of the country post-apartheid with the referral of David's "old line" boss. I think that it was an important touch especially for the readers who aren't really versed in the history of the country and it plays a rather large part in the novel because of the actions and histories of individual characters mostly those of the bad guys.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By alnval on April 9, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Couldn't finish it. Got half way through and finally gave up. DIsappointed because it had moments that said it could turn around and take off. But, it didn't. I also had some difficulty understanding what the author was trying to say about South Africa's (flawed?) criminal justice system and how it influences the police in the solving of crimes.

In brief, I couldn't get into the story. I couldn't find a way to pull together the story's threads so as to want to finish it. A good part of it was the moral instability of Jade the main character whom some reviewers applauded for her flexibility. I saw this, however, as a product of Jade's not being connected to a value system that would determine her approach to dealing with right and wrong. For me, she was expedient not flexible. She became someone I could not identify with or want to know more about. Moreover, her behavior defined her as a person who resisted adopting a set of values about right and wrong even though she had plenty of reason to do so. Her father had been an heroic Police Commissioner, and David, a close and important friend and skilled investigator was a Superintendent of Police. Yet Jade continually compromised the values of these folks by having equally close personal relationships with criminals even to the point of engaging in criminal behavior.

Does the book end with Jade resolving this apparent conflict between good and evil? Does one win out over the other? I don't know and unfortunately, I couldn't get invested enough in the story to really care.
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