A Cape Town cop takes on the media-frenzied murder of a young woman in this “hard-hitting procedural, which won France’s Grand Prix for Best Crime Novel” (Publishers Weekly).
As a child, Ali Neuman ran away from home to escape the Inkatha, a militant political party at war with the then-underground African National Congress. He and his mother are the only members of his family who survived the carnage of those years. Today, Neuman is chief of the homicide branch of the Cape Town police, a job in which he must do battle with South Africa’s two scourges: widespread violence and AIDS.
When the mutilated corpse of a young white woman is found in the city’s botanical gardens, Neuman finds himself chasing one false lead after another. Then a second corpse is found—another white woman. This time, the body bears signs of a Zulu ritual. Worse, an unknown narcotic has been found in the blood of both victims.
The investigation will take Neuman back to his homeland, where he will discover that the once bloody killing fields have become a refuge for unscrupulous multinationals, and that the apparatchiks of apartheid still lurk in the shadows of a society struggling toward reconciliation.
Readers should be prepared for graphic scenes of shocking violence in F rey's hard-hitting procedural, which won France's Grand Prix for Best Crime Novel. Ali Neuman, the chief of the Cape Town police crime unit, investigates the murder of 18-year-old Nicole Wiese, found one morning in the South African city's botanical gardens with her skull crushed in. Since the victim's father was a member of the Springboks rugby team that won the world championship in 1995, the case attracts heavy press coverage. The trail leads Neuman to an extraordinarily brutal narcotics gang with links to a former apartheid official. The good guys don't walk away from their encounters with the bad guys unscathed. This is a welcome addition to the growing ranks of crime books set in South Africa powerful and unflinching in its portrayal of evil both mindless and calculating.