Reviewed by Janet Walton
I read this book when it was released in 2009 and have waited for each subsequent book as Margie Orfords’ writing just gets better and better. Margie is a well-known South African crime novelist who was born in London and grew up in Namibia and South Africa. She studied at the University of Cape Town where she wrote her final exams in prison while detained during the State of Emergency. Writing about crime in South Africa, one of the most crime ridden countries in the world, provides a field rich in information and ideas for novelists. There are currently five novels in this series.
The two main protagonists, Clare Hart, journalist and Police Profiler, and Inspector Reidwaan Faizal, recovering drunk on his last chance with management, quickly pull you into their world in Cape Town. A city of great contrast where the rich live alongside those who are not so fortunate.
In this first story young women are being abducted then sadistically murdered. Clare is drawn into the police investigation as she lives near where the first body was found and is immediately struck by the evident rituals performed by the killer and is convinced they will kill again. She does the profiling whilst investigating people trafficking and finds her time split between a job she loves and needs, her journalism, and the profiling. Although she is outstanding at profiling it brings back unwanted memories of a time her twin Constance was attacked and left for dead. Constance now lives a sheltered life never leaving her home in the Cape mountains. The evolving challenging personal relationship between Clare and Riedwaan takes its time weaving through each story often in unexpected ways. They work together or apart at times to solve each crime as best they can.
Margie Orfords writing highlights the tensions in South Africa in a realistic and thought-provoking way and will give you a better insight about those who live there. She is also well-known as an award-winning journalist, film director and author of children’s fiction and non-fiction. Margie is a board member of PEN South Africa, the patron of Rape Crisis and the patron of the children’s book charity, The Little Hands Trust.
Janet Walton is a registered nurse in the UK and a member of Mix Tape Radio International