In BLOOD SAFARI, Lemmer is a freelance bodyguard for Body Armor, a personal security company in South Africa. Lean, angry, violent, he sees himself as being way down on the price list where the bargains are to be found.
Emma le Roux wants to find her missing brother, who supposedly died twenty years ago, but whom she is convinced she's seen on the news as a suspect in the recent killing of a witch doctor and four poachers. She hires Lemmer to watch her back when she goes looking for answers. Lemmer thinks they're on a wild goose chase, but still feels a need to protect Le Roux.
As Le Roux and Lemmer search for clues in the rural Lowveld, it becomes obvious someone wants to keep them in the dark. Someone who will go to any lengths to stop them asking questions. When they are attacked and almost killed, Lemmer decides to go after whoever is hunting them - against all odds.
Overall, Meyer pens an absorbing and exciting story filled with intriguing characters. I particularly enjoyed the way he threaded some interesting African themes issues, including fresh views on the enviroment, history and politics, throughout the page-turning tale. There is plenty of intrigue - just who wants Lemmer and le Roux to stop digging? - and Meyer nicely evokes a sense of the layers and complexity of both modern South Africa, and the natural environment.
I wasn't quite as enamoured with Meyer as I expected however, from all the praise I'd heard. For some reason I enjoyed the book, but wasn't totally caught up and engaged by it. Some of the dialogue seemed a bit clunky (that could have been the translation) and overall it seemed to fall into the 'good book, would read more of this author' category, rather than the superior 'fantastic book, want to read more of this author ASAP' category that several other authors fall into.
Overall however BLOOD SAFARI is an enjoyable and gritty mystery in an exotic setting.
3 1/2 STARS.
Are you part of Dorte's terrific 2010 Global Reading Challenge? Do you try to read crime and mysteries from a variety of countries? Have you read any of Deon Meyer's books, or other South African crime novels? Thoughts and comments welcome.