The book that stayed with me most from this year is Deon Meyer's TRACKERS . . . a dazzling performance.
How fulfilling the rewards are for those seeking crime fiction with real texture and intelligence . . . The author presents an unsparing picture of social divisions in post-apartheid South Africa . . . TRACKERS is a sprawling, invigorating and socially committed crime novel.
7 DAYS, is a perfect example of why he is, in my opinion, one of the very best crime fiction authors in the world today . . . Deon Meyer is a rare author who is able to provide a ripping plot together with a large cast of fascinating characters, major and minor, as well as an ongoing social commentary on modern South Africa with its mixtures of languages, standards of living, cultures and attitudes. The translator, K L Seegers, does an excellent job of conveying all these levels in a freely flowing style. This thriller is very tense and exciting - I was struggling to guess the identities of the murderer and the shooter before the author reveals all in a very satisfactory conclusion . . . 7 DAYS is a marvellous crime novel which must be a strong contender for best crime novel of 2012.
[Meyer] is simply too good a writer to produce anything by numbers. In fact, if he had written only books as concise as this - rather than, for instance, the massive, socially committed TRACKERS - he would still maintain his gleaming reputation . . . There is no gainsaying the sheer momentum of the storytelling. And there is a key thing to praise in 7 DAYS (translated from the Afrikaans by KL Seegers): how does Meyer manage to make the hoariest cliché of crime fiction - the alcoholic copper - read as if we've never encountered this device? Even if Meyer chose not to write anything more on his customary scale, most of his fans would be perfectly happy with shorter books as focused and persuasive as 7 DAYS.
An ambitious, multi-threaded tale . . . comprehensively pulling the reader into the melee of modern South Africa . . . this is a book that tells a cracking story and captures the criminal kaleidoscope of a nation.
The reader is plunged into a maelstrom of murder investigation, political corruption, racial tension and the clock is ticking for that all-too-human cop Benny Griessel who is also fighting his battle with alcohol on an emotional second front this time . . . Deon Meyer is a top notch plotter and has created one of the best ensemble (and multi-racial) casts of any modern police procedural series.
The Thriller Shot of the Year title goes to South African Deon Meyer for his superb tour-de-force TRACKERS which combines a spy plot worthy of Le Carre ("spy the beloved country") with several tense and violent criminal sub-plots and a complex and stunningly impressive narrative structure. All in all, a masterpiece of South African crime writing; which is rapidly proving to be the bench-mark of international crime fiction.'
One of the sharpest and most perceptive thriller writers around
This guy is really good. Deon Meyer hooked me with this one right from the start.
Publishers and booksellers trumpet that "South Africa is the new Scandinavia" when it comes to crime writing and that Deon Meyer is "South Africa's Answer to Stieg Larsson". He's not; he's far better . . . With TRACKERS I would suggest he has moved into the John le Carré class, and not simply because one of the plot lines is about the workings of a South African security department and the political in-fighting involved, but mainly because this is a book which is a great thriller and a fine novel of characterisation. Indeed, the cast of characters is diverse (morally as well as ethnically) but every single one is fully-formed and three-dimensional and they all play their parts in a complex triple-stranded plot.
Sleekly done crime fiction layered with the cultural complexities of the new South Africa.
Being hailed as the finest novel yet from an author whose reputation is growing around the world. Deon Meyer, is building a steady collection of awards for his books and an international fan base.
Far and away the best crime writer in South Africa
Deon Meyer has put South African crime fiction on the map . . . 7 DAYS is a clever blend of an Agatha Christie detective novel and a Frederick Forsyth thriller, with the carefully dropped clues [which I missed] and all the explicit detail of a gripping thriller . . . 7 DAYS is one of the best books I have read this year, because as well as the tension and thrills you learn so much about a very complex country. What makes a pleasant change from some authors from the Northern Hemisphere is that Meyer very rarely moralises, he just tells it like it is and leaves his readers to make up their own minds. Deon Meyer is an author on my must read list, and 7 DAYS keeps up the standard set in his previous books.
The author is proclaimed to be "South Africa's answer to Stieg Larsson" in a banner headline on the cover. I wouldn't disagree with that. He is certainly as powerful a writer, although his style is slightly different, and considerably more complex . . . this is one of the most absorbing crime stories you are ever likely to read.
Award-winning crime fiction author Meyer demonstrates his superb gift for bringing together several disparate plots, striking characters, and vividly drawn scenes of contemporary South Africa, all roaring towards a climax with more than one surprise . . . With a fine eye for detail, an unflattering image of South African culture, and clear sympathy for the downtrodden, Meyer still never loses his focus on page-turning suspense and riveting mystery. Highly recommended.
Superior prose and characterization . . . Meyer balances the personal and professional adroitly, with a solution reminiscent of Peter Lovesey at his twistiest.
Meyer is the leading chronicler of South Africa, and his latest novel shows off his technical skill . . . a dazzling performance.
Though the damaged series detective is a familiar figure in crime fiction, Meyer is far too good a writer for this to matter. Griessel is very much his own man, juggling the demands of his career with those of his equally testing private life. The narrative is well-plotted, and the novel brings to life the rich and volatile diversity of contemporary South Africa. There's nothing flashy here, just a good story, very well told. Would there were more like it.
This South African kind of crime is going global fast. TRACKERS shows why: three deftly-braided plot strands join political sophistication, strongly-drawn characters and a passionate concern with the Rainbow Nation's fate.
Critics were struggling to come up with new adjectives to praise the South African writer Deon Meyer's TRACKERS, a menacing tale of smuggling and disappearances on a sprawling canvas of post-apartheid South Africa.
This year's great discovery: classy, edgy writing, subtly plotted and beautifully balanced between fast-paced action, pungent social comment and the process of investigation.
Without doubt one of the brightest stars to emerge from the Southern African crime scene is Deon Meyer. A big, complex novel, it skilfully weaves together three separate storylines, and three different forms of crime-writing, into a cohesive and fascinating whole . . . The result is a very powerful thriller that sweeps the reader up in its gritty portrayal of modern South Africa . . . Meyer's mixture of compelling, believable characters, tense plotting and fascinating insights into the texture of everyday South Africa make TRACKERS one of the year's better crime novels.
As I would expect from Meyer, the book was well plotted, full of twists and turns as potential suspects were examined and then cleared . . . an enjoyable read with an interesting and surprising resolution.
An unusually intriguing story about modern South Africa.
Deon Meyer's gritty crime novels [are] part police procedural, part political thriller and have, in Benny Griessel, one of the most appealing and humane of detectives . . . It's an insight into how much of South African business works, a tale of shady foreigners, super-rich enablers and politicians translating their party connections into private wealth. But in the same way that he creates Griessel as much more than your cliched drunk detective with a good heart, Meyer paints the corrupt with a delicate brush . . . What makes Meyer such a national treasure - and as good as anyone in the world - is that even if you have no knowledge or interest in South Africa's history or present, his books are compelling page-turners. Politics and race are just part of the intricately crafted superstructure bolted onto the rock-solid chassis of a top-quality crime thriller, driven by a writer with deceptive skill.
Meyer's ambition matches his execution in this brilliantly complex standalone thriller set in his native South Africa . . . Few readers will anticipate exactly how the separate plot strands will be resolved. This powerhouse read, which captures the many facets of modern South Africa, should be the American breakthrough book this talented author deserves.