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Devil's Peak: A Novel Hardcover – March 26, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Complex, finely wrought characters, keen psychological insight and a compelling plot lift this crime novel from South African author Meyer (Dead Before Dying). Former mercenary Thobela Mpayipheli is trying to live a peaceful life, but these plans are shattered when his eight-year-old son, Pakamile, is shot dead. The two gunmen responsible escape before sentencing, and the grieving father decides to take matters into his own hands. As he pursues his son's killers, Mpayipheli begins to target pedophiles and other perpetrators of violence against children, meting out justice with a Xhosa tribal sword called an assegai.Dubbed Artemis by the papers as the killings increase, Mpayipheli becomes a kind of folk hero to the people of Capetown. Insp. Benny Griessel, an aging alcoholic whose struggles with the bottle have all but cost him his family and his life, works the case with a desperate intensity. Griessel finds an unlikely ally in Christine van Rooyen, a young prostitute, who lures the detective into a very dangerous plan of her own when her young daughter goes missing. This book is easily Meyer's finest effort to date. (Mar.)
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“Vance successfully conveys every moment of despair and elation. But it’s near the novel’s end—when the plot strands connect in a suspenseful and violent confrontation—that Vance pulls out all the stops, adding a notable finishing touch to this compelling presentation.”
“Knife-edge suspense delineates the thin line between justice and revenge, murder and retribution, in this gripping audio experience superbly performed by Booklist’s 2008 ‘Voice of Choice’ reader Simon Vance. Highly recommended.”
“Although [the principal] three characters exhibit extreme anguish and pain, Vance never shies away from expressing their respective emotions and revealing their distinct personalities. Without resorting to caricature, he does a good job with minor characters as well, and handles escalating events in stride. Filled with suspense, social commentary, and well-drawn characters, this story is the whole package.”
“Simon Vance slides from vulnerable masculinity to cool sensuality, never upstaging the author’s craftsmanship. The resultant amalgam eclipses the plot’s violence to produce a literary jewel for fans of crime, mysteries, and knockout writing.”
—Library Journal [starred review]
Top customer reviews
An alcoholic down and out detective isn't exactly a glamour hero, but unassuming Bennie systematically carries on, he makes mistakes, he stumbles back into alcohol while under stress but at the end of the day he delivers only to .........
Well I leave that for you to read.
He is also taken in and fooled by a character in the story.
Being a South African Resident I can identify closely with the characters, the political and social back ground.
Other reviewers discussed the story line which I try not to do to any extent in my reviews. The theme is child abuse. This book gives a related case a different twist at a fast moving pace. The book is written by jumping back and forth between scenarios involving different characters which of course ultimately merge. I normally don't like that style of writing which more and more authors seem to do these days, likely to fill pages. However, it works well in this book.
The book also sheds more light on the main character's personal challenges, in particular, his battle with alcoholism per his career and personal life.
There was enough diversity in this storyline, a lot of action and different twists and turns to make this, in my view, one of the best books, I've read in some time. I find it interesting that the number of reviews for Meyer's subsequent book (Thirteen Hours) far exceeds this one in numbers and in my mind this book tops that in many ways.