“A page turner of a story, intriguing characters—Jade is particularly memorable—and a wealth of South African color . . . At once brutal and beautiful” (Richmond Times-Dispatch).
In Johannesburg, prosperous whites live in gated communities; when they exit their cars to open the gates, car-jackings are common. But seldom is the victim killed, much less shot twice, like Annette Botha. The husband of the wealthy woman is the primary suspect in his wife’s murder.
PI Jade de Jong fled South Africa ten years ago after her father was killed. Now back in town, she offers to help her father’s former assistant, Supt. David Patel, with his investigation of this case. Under apartheid, Patel, of Indian descent, could never have attained his present position. But he is feeling pressure from his “old line” boss with respect to this investigation and fears lingering prejudice is at work.
As Jade probes into this and other recent car-jacking cases, a pattern begins to emerge, a pattern that goes back to her father’s murder and that involves a vast and intricate series of crimes for profit.
“Jade de Jong kicks ass.” —NPR
“[A] triumphant debut . . . 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.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Hard-edged . . . [A] remarkable new sleuth.” —The New York Times Book 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.