Devil’s Peak by Deon Meyer
Soldiers never find it easy returning from war. So it is with Thobela Mpayipheli, former freedom fighter, trying to settle back into the new South Africa. But at least he has his boy, an adored companion who is a link to a happier past. Then the boy is taken from Thobela, one of a staggering number of children murdered or abused in South Africa, and Thobela knows only despair…and a cold desire for revenge. Thus is born the vigilante killer known as ‘Artemis’. The police respond by putting on the case a man who can’t afford to fail. Benny Griessel is on the brink of losing everything — his job, his family, his self-respect — and this could be his last chance to drag his life back out of the gutter. And then Benny meets Christine, a young mother working as a prostitute in Cape Town. And something happens that is so frightening, the world can never be the same again, for Benny, for Christine, or for Thobela.
I have been aware of this author for quite some time, after stumbling across his books when looking for crime fiction based in other countries. I had never read anything based in South Africa and so this immediately peaked my interest. I downloaded the sample via kindle and was gripped, so much so, I decided to buy the paperback, as I gathered this would be a series I would eventually want to collect!
The novel opens in Cape Town, it is broken into four parts all named after characters central to the plot Christine, Benny, Thobela and Carla. This is so much more than a police procedural, mystery or whodunit. It is a master piece of writing, with the plot never once letting up! The main theme being the impact these characters will have on each other’s lives.
Thobela is a former freedom fighter, seeking a life of peace on his farm. When his young son Pakamile is violently killed at a routine trip to the gas station. The pain and aftermath of this event, leads Thobela on a dangerous journey of revenge…..
Benny Griessel is a policeman, father, husband and most paramount a drunkard! He has wasted his life via his love for alcohol and blocking out the voices of previous cases. When his wife offers a stark ultimatum, he has 6 months to free himself from the clutches of alcohol, or she will leave with their kids. Can he do it? Can he turn his back on his only love…….alcohol?
The paragraphs written from Christine’s point of view are exceptionally powerful. Christine is a single mother and prostitute, who has spent life drifting from bad experience to bad experience. Her life story follows in a series of confessions to a minister. It details her early life and childhood, which actually made me feel quite tearful.
When the bodies of criminals, who have evaded justice, begin to turn up stabbed with an assegai spear. It is clear someone is sending a message to those whom harm children. With a sober Benny on the case can he find the killer? Does anyone within the serious and violent crimes unit really want to stop the killer? The theme of a vigilante style killer, who murders those who commit murder or sexual based crimes against children, added a whole Dexter spin to this novel. I must admit, I completely understood the killers motivations and intentions. Who will defend the children? Who will deliver justice for them?
“If children can’t depend on the justice system, to whom can they turn?”
Benny starts to see the errors of his ways and the impact of his alcoholism and thus forms a redemption theme for him. Benny needs to solve this case for his conscience, sanity and personal forgiveness! It is when Benny first meets Christine that we see this case will strike right at the heart of everything Benny holds dear!
Devil’s peak is the first a series and as I finish this review, I shall be logging into Amazon to purchase the second! An amazing opening to a series, highly recommend 5* Genius!
*Actually logged on and bought #2 and #3 in the series!