Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press


by Deon Meyer Translated from Afrikaans by K.L. Seegers

“Meyer . . . vividly depicts the story of South Africa in his novels . . . The ones featuring Captain Griessel in particular have a pleasing relentlessness.” —Los Angeles Review of Books

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 368
  • Publication Date November 10, 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2422-7
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $15.00

About The Book

Celebrated as the “King of South African Crime,” Deon Meyer is a world-class writer whose page-turning thrillers probe the complexities of his beloved native country. In his latest novel, at a guest house in the beautiful Franschhoek wine valley, a famous English mathematician is kidnapped and his two bodyguards are killed. It’s clearly a professional hit, and the spent shell cases offer a chilling clue: Each is engraved with the head of a spitting cobra.

Meanwhile, in Cape Town, a skilled young thief is using his talents to put his sister through college. Then one day he picks the wrong pocket, grabbing the wallet of a young American woman visiting South Africa to deliver some very valuable and dangerous information. Before the day is done, five more are dead thanks to the Cobra, the sister is kidnapped, and the thief is on the run.

With the help of his colleagues in the Hawks, South Africa’s top police unit, Captain Benny Griessel attempts to identify and find the missing man, save the girl, and track down the Cobra. And then the intelligence services step in, ordering his team to turn over the investigation. Powerful people are involved, possibly the CIA. But the Hawks aren’t going to let it go, aren’t going to let corruption rot the new South Africa, and aren’t going to let the Cobra get away with murder. Building to a deadly, heart-pounding finale, Cobra is a masterful thriller from a writer at the top of his game.


“Mr. Meyer, the leading thriller writer in his native country, traffics in crime-novel situations familiar the world over: drunken cops, charming robbers, dangerous murderers, sudden violence—and sometimes, issues of race. Mr. Meyer’s South Africa, however, is unique. His books, translated from Afrikaans, are usually set in the Cape Town region, where mountains spectacularly meet the sea on the Horn of Africa. Amid these vistas his detective confronts his own—and his country’s—tortured past and the legacy of Apartheid.” —Steve Dougherty, Wall Street Journal

“Meyer . . . vividly depicts the story of South Africa in his novels, from the hope and turmoil of the fall of apartheid to the corrupt and desperate aspects of present-day Cape Town. . . . Meyer’s novels have an insistent forward motion, and the ones featuring Captain Griessel in particular have a pleasing relentlessness.” —Glenn Harper, Los Angeles Review of Books

“Deon Meyer is one of the unsung masters.” —Michael Connelly

“A serious writer who richly deserves the international reputation he has built.” —Washington Post

“Meyer’s assured fourth Bennie Griessel thriller takes the Cape Town homicide detective to South African wine country. . . . Suspense builds as the action shifts between Griessel’s and [Cape Town pickpocket] Tyrone’s increasingly life-threatening exploits.” —Publishers Weekly

“An excellent South African thriller featuring one of the best ensemble casts of policemen currently pounding the crime beat. Makes most Scandinavian fiction taste of freezer burn.” —Deadly Pleasures

“Deon Meyer’s series . . . grow[s] richer and more sophisticated with each new book. This progression makes Cobra the most dazzling of the bunch.” —Jack Batten, Toronto Star< "Meyer combines intricate plotting, a compelling cast, and timely themes in this fourth novel featuring Captain Benny Griessel. . . . Meyer has added another provocative novel to his impressive oeuvre." —Joanne Wilkinson, Booklist

“A chase-themed thriller set in the tense political climate of post-apartheid South Africa. . . . As always, Meyer writes with a strong sense of character and an eye on post-apartheid politics.” —Kirkus Reviews

“In this ninth thriller, Deon Meyer shows his mastery of the form once again. He tells a great story with suspense that doesn’t let up. Highly recommended.” —I Love a Mystery


Shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association International Dagger
A Publishers Weekly Top 10 Mystery & Thriller Pick for Fall 2014