A former assassin in post-apartheid South Africa is drawn back into his former profession in this “rip-roaring adventure” (The Washington Post).
Six-foot five-inch Thobela “Tiny” Mpayipheli was once a feared freedom fighter, trained by the Stasi and KGB. Now, he’s a family man working in a garage in post-apartheid South Africa. But when the daughter of one of Tiny’s former associates comes to him with a desperate plea, he finds himself returning to his violent former life.
With his old friend Johnny being held hostage, Tiny agrees to do whatever it takes to get him back safely. But as he races to the rendezvous point on a stolen BMW motorcycle, Tiny is trailed by several hostile forces, including South Africa’s Presidential Intelligence Unit. And when his old training kicks in, his pursuers will learn what kind of man they’re up against . . .
With books published in twenty languages, Deon Meyer has established himself as one of the best crime writers in the world. In Heart of the Hunter, he has created a thriller “good enough to nip at the heels of Le Carré” (Kirkus Reviews).
“This guy is really good. Deon Meyer hooked me with this one right from the start.” —Michael Connelly, New York Times–bestselling author of the Harry Bosch novels
“A portrait of spy-world duplicity and a look at South Africa’s post-apartheid politics.” —The Washington Post
“The dark, explosive side of Alexander McCall Smith’s Botswana books, as full of love for the vast beauty of the country but also riddled by the anger of South Africa’s recent racial and political struggles.” —Chicago Tribune
“A brilliant American debut by Afrikaans writer Deon Meyer, uses political intrigue as the fuel for a fast-paced crime thriller.” —The Times-Picayune
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.