As I've been participating in Dorte's excellent 2010 Global Reading Challenge, I've been introduced to several fantastic-sounding 'new to me' crime and thriller writers.
One writer who's name seems to keep cropping up very regularly when it comes to participants looking for or discussing books set in the African continent, is South African Deon Meyer. As I already had Africa covered with tales set in Ancient Egypt and Botswana, I didn't need to get my hands on any of Meyer's books for the challenge - however from what everyone else has been saying, I'm going to keep an eye out for him in future anyway.
According to Meyer's website, he was born in the South African town of Paarl in the winelands of the Western Cape in 1958, and grew up in Klerksdorp, in the gold mining region of Northwest Province. After military duty and University, he joined Die Volksblad, a daily newspaper in Bloemfontein, as a reporter. Since then, he has worked as press liaison, advertising copywriter, creative director, web manager, Internet strategist, and brand consultant.
In 1994 he published his first Afrikaans novel, which has not been translated, "simply because it was not good enough to compete on the international market. However, it was a wonderful learning experience". All his later novels have been translated into 20 languages, including English, French, German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Russian, Finnish, Czech, Romanian, Slovakian and Bulgarian.
Meyer is widely considered South Africa's best crime writer, and his brand new novel, THIRTEEN HOURS (already a #1 bestseller in South Africa) will soon be released in the UK and the US. In anticipation of that, Meyer was interviewed by Mark Coles for the BBC programme The Strand on Monday.
In the interview, Meyer discusses both his latest novel, which follows a murder investigation in real time, and the challenges of writing as time passes and how crime fiction has radically changed since the end of apartheid. You can listen to the fascinating full interview here.
Have you read any of Deon Meyer's books? What do you think of his South African-set crime novels? How quickly should I jump him up near the top of my tottering TBR pile? Thoughts and comments welcome.