In his fourth thriller set in and around Cape Town, South African crime writer Meyer interweaves the stories of three desperate individuals. Thobela Mpayipheli, a former Xhosa assassin last seen in Heart of the Hunter, is unable to stop two gas station thieves from killing his stepson. Driven by vengeance and armed only with an assegai (a spear), he begins to track down the thieves. Unsuccessful at first, he expands his crusade to include those suspected of sexual crimes against children. As the bloody killings mount, Detective Inspector Benny Griessel, an alcoholic determined to stay sober in order to win back his wife and children, is assigned the assegai case. Meanwhile, Christine van Rooyen, a prostitute with a young daughter, tells a clergyman how she became involved with the local boss of a Colombian drug cartel. In time, the lives of all three will collide with devastating results. Readers will need a measure of patience to handle the quick jumps between stories and the half-page or so that it takes to figure out whose story is now center stage. Still, Meyer's ability to probe the depths of his major characters makes this read well worth the effort. Recommended for public libraries.-Ron Terpening, Univ. of Arizona, Tuscon Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Complex, finely wrought characters, keen psychological insight and a compelling plot lift this crime novel from South African author Meyer (Dead Before Dying). Former mercenary Thobela Mpayipheli is trying to live a peaceful life, but these plans are shattered when his eight-year-old son, Pakamile, is shot dead. The two gunmen responsible escape before sentencing, and the grieving father decides to take matters into his own hands. As he pursues his son's killers, Mpayipheli begins to target pedophiles and other perpetrators of violence against children, meting out justice with a Xhosa tribal sword called an assegai. Dubbed "Artemis" by the papers as the killings increase, Mpayipheli becomes a kind of folk hero to the people of Capetown. Insp. Benny Griessel, an aging alcoholic whose struggles with the bottle have all but cost him his family and his life, works the case with a desperate intensity. Griessel finds an unlikely ally in Christine van Rooyen, a young prostitute, who lures the detective into a very dangerous plan of her own when her young daughter goes missing. This book is easily Meyer's finest effort to date. (Mar.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.