From the author of Thirteen Hours - A Sunday Times '100 best crime novels and thrillers since 1945' pick
The big man known as 'Tiny' has a past littered with violence and death. An assassin's past that he hopes never to face again.
But when his best friend is kidnapped, Tiny suddenly finds himself on the back of a stolen motorbike, speeding away from his child and the woman he loves.
Tiny has only 72 hours in which to deliver a computer disk that one group of people would kill to possess, and another would kill to destroy. If he fails, his best friend dies.
HEART OF THE HUNTER is the tale of one man's struggle for survival against a corrupt government, a group of bloodthirsty killers and most of all, against his past.
A hulking black motorcycle-shop janitor named Tiny is the unlikely hero of this frantic, intelligent thriller by a South African crime writer. Tiny (aka Thobela Mpayipheli aka Umzingeli, the Hunter) is a former KGB-trained assassin who plied his trade in service of the struggle against apartheid. He is now a peace-loving family man, but when a plea for help comes from the daughter of an old friend, he is forced to race across the country on a motorcycle to deliver a coveted disk, chased by a homicidal special forces commander. His fear of revisiting the violence of his past feels real the sincere hesitation of a dark-skinned man in a country where violent acts multiply like viruses, especially where black blood is involved. "His hands so terribly ready to kill, his brain clattering out the knowledge of the vital points on the soldier's body like machine gun fire, despairing, don't, don't, don't..." In other ways, this is a standard thriller complete with CIA involvement, an appearance by Muslim extremists and a loose, rat-a-tat prose that keeps pages turning. The central plot twist is predictable and too few of the many story lines are resolved, but the freshness of the context and the emotional complexity of the hero's journey are ample compensation for readers who want a more thought-provoking spy story.