Trackersby Deon Meyer
From one of the world’s top thriller writers, this is a masterful story involving diamond smuggling, gang warfare, and international espionage amid the beautiful landscape and troubled history of South Africa.
With books published in twenty languages, Deon Meyer has won heaps of critical acclaim and a reputation as one of the best thriller writers in the world. Over six previous novels, the king of South African crime has spun pulse-pounding tales of violence and history in his beloved country. In Trackers, Lemmer, a freelance bodyguard, goes against his rule to not get involved when a wealthy farmer asks for his help smuggling a pair of rare black rhinos out of Zimbabwe, where the animals are murdered for their horns. Before he knows it, Lemmer is in a small airplane, zipping across the border with an airsickness bag in his hand and a military-grade shotgun at his feet. But trouble finds Lemmer on a deserted road in Zimbabwe that night. Big trouble.
Back in Cape Town, Milla Strachan, the emotionally abused wife of a philandering husband and the mother of a cruel teenage son, works up the courage to pack up and start a new life. But at forty, it’s tough to find work as a journalist and Milla takes what she can get—in this case, a classified job writing intelligence reports. It’s exciting work, more exciting than she could have imagined, and more dangerous than she could have ever expected. Connecting Milla and Lemmer is Mat Joubert, a former detective working on his first case as a private eye.
Moving between a phenomenal cast of characters including farmers, outlaws, gangsters, and intelligence agents, Meyer delves deep into the people, the problems, and the landscapes of South Africa. He is an insightful writer that expands the reader’s horizons as he threatens to take ones breath away.
“One of the sharpest and most perceptive thriller writers around.” —The Times (London)
“Deon Meyer deserves his international reputation.” —Thomas Perry
“In his seventh novel, the king of South African crime fiction outdoes himself, packing in enough plot to power three separate novels. . . . Aside from masterfully juggling intricate plot details and ripping off some bloodcurdling action scenes, Meyer lays bare more ruthlessly than ever before the chaos that lurks beneath South Africa’s new identity as a playground for terrorists. And he throws into the bargain a chilling assessment of the average citizen’s hopelessly myopic worldview. Meyer has few equals when it comes to combining biting social critique and riveting action scenes.” —Joanne Wilkinson, Booklist (starred review)
“Meyer’s ambition matches his execution in this brilliantly complex standalone thriller set in his native South Africa. . . . This powerhouse read, which captures the many facets of modern South Africa, should be the American breakthrough this talented author deserves.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“South African mystery maven Meyer returns with a complex tale of intrigue and mayhem most satisfying. . . . Meyer’s carefully plotted narrative is multilayered and rich in detail, and it’s to his credit that he is able to pull these separate, seemingly unrelated threads into an a-ha conclusion. In the end, it’s about smuggling, killing, and other crimes, but also about the quotidian sins of racism, fear, aloofness, self-interest and mistreatment of others—in short, the ordinary human failings as well as their spectacular transgressions. A first-rate thriller.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“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 toward a climax with more than one surprise . . . page-turning suspense and riveting mystery. Highly recommended.” —Roland Person, Library Journal (starred review)
“The ‘King of South African Crime’ has spun another intricate tale of intrigue, adventure, and crime.” —Deadly Pleasures
“Trackers is a wicked stew–poaching, politics, corruption and terrorism. . . . Meyer is opening a window on a confusing, intense and multi-layered nation in the midst of reimagining itself as a post-Apartheid. . .something.” —C.J. Box, Wall Street Journal
“Splendid . . . Astutely drawn . . . Trackers is a sprawling, invigorating and socially committed crime novel.” —Barry Forshaw, The Independent (UK)
“[A] brilliant and intricately plotted thriller far beyond ordinary genre fiction. Trackers is an ambitious novel that opens a window into the people, the problems, and the landscapes of South Africa. Tense action scenes, unrelenting suspense, and a phenomenal cast of characters ranging from farmers and conservationists, to outlaws and intelligence agents, make it abundantly clear why Mr. Meyer has been crowned the ‘King of South African crime.’” —Karen Dionne, New York Journal of Books
“First-rate.” —Theodore Feit, Midwest Book Review
“In the second decade of the 21st century, some of the most compelling contemporary crime-fiction novels are either set in or coming from Africa. Much as Scandinavia became associated with the genre a few years back—thanks in large part to Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy—Africa may become a new capital of literary crime. . . . Just as the works of James Ellroy and Carl Hiaasen dig beneath the glitter and glamour of Hollywood and South Beach, respectively, to reveal a nasty, fetid underside, [Trackers goes] beyond nightly news pictures of deprivation and desperation.” —Cary Darling, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“Once again, Deon Meyer creates a vivid and sometimes frightening look at life in contemporary South Africa, which serves as the background for a real can’t-put-it-downer of a thriller. In the course of his six previous novels, each of which has been more exciting than the previous one, he has continued to expand his plotting and characters. This is his most complex and intricate novel yet, filled with twists and ironies and a series of surprises in the conclusion that make it all work.” —Mary Whipple, MaryWhippleReviews.com
“A boon for the mystery/thriller connoisseur weary of the same old . . . backdrop, Meyer’s South Africa is palpable, a world at once achingly beautiful yet torn still by deep-seated racial hatred and injustice. . . . Trackers is a thick, meaty mystery . . . full of twists and subplots.” —Tom Lavoie, Shelf Awareness
“Meyer, as always, choreographs the action and heightens the suspense with elegant efficiency. He also keeps us guessing how Lemmer’s story fits in with that of Milla, the first protagonist we meet in Trackers and the one we care most about even when—especially when—she disappears. She is one of Meyer’s finest creations, and his subtle evocation of her marriage and its aftermath draws us into a quiet story that gradually becomes an espionage drama.” —Anna Mundow, Barnes & Noble Review
“Meyer’s punch lies in the authenticity and depth of his characters. And he has his finger on the pulse of modern South Africa. This is what makes Trackers a winner.” —Volksblad (South Africa)
“A cleverly constructed story—and a great adventure.” —Beeld (South Africa)
“This is a book you can only put down with great difficulty.” —Die Burger (South Africa)
“Trackers is technically probably the most challenging an author can attempt. But Meyer does it with consummate ease. With this book, I truly believe, he has now risen head and shoulders above what has been done in the crime genre internationally.” —Raport (South Africa)
“In his native South Africa . . . Meyer is a bigger hitter than his namesake Twilight author, whom he jokes is his cousin. His books regularly slay the vampire romances in the charts, with their gritty realizations of the seamier side of South African life.” —The Bookseller
A Kirkus Reviews Best Thriller 2011
Shortlisted for the 2012 CWA International Dagger Award
“There’s a vehicle following us, for the past hour,” I said. “I want to make sure about this, Lourens. We’ll wait for a long downhill. Don’t use your brakes; we don’t want to alert them. But slow down, use the gears to stop. Slowly, smoothly. Keep the lights on.”
Lourens took his foot off the accelerator, worked down through the gears, put it in neutral. The Mercedes slowed. Lourens waited a bit and then turned off the lights. The night was suddenly pitch black. The only lights were the ones behind us, considerably closer now.
“When we stop, turn off the engine and use the hand brake. But stay in your seat and keep your hand on the keys.”
I took the Glock out of the storage space, waited until we rolled to a halt, opened the door, leapt out, ran round to the rear of the truck, pistol in hand. Lourens turned the engine off.
The lights behind us, now only two hundred metres away, snapped off suddenly.
A very bad sign.
Flea came and stood beside me. “If the tranquilizer wears off, the rhinos will go into a frenzy. I can’t inject them in the dark. Can we get moving?”