Some would call Detective Benny Griessel a legend. Others would call him a drunk.
Either way, he has trodden on too many toes over the years ever to reach the top of the promotion ladder, and now he concentrates on staying sober and mentoring the new generation of crime fighters - mixed race, Xhosa and Zulu. But when an American backpacker disappears in Cape Town, panicked politicians know who to call: Benny has just thirteen hours to save the girl, save his career, and crack open a conspiracy, which threatens the whole country.
05:36: a girl runs up the steep slope of Lions Head. The sound of
her running shoes urgent on the broad footpaths gravel.
At this moment, as the suns rays pick her out like a searchlight against the mountain, she is the image of carefree grace. Seen from behind, her dark plait bounces against the little rucksack. Her neck is deeply tanned against the powder blue of her T-shirt. There is energy in the rhythmic stride of her long legs in denim shorts. She personifies athletic youth vigorous, healthy, focused. Until she stops and looks back over her left shoulder. Then the illusion disintegrates. There is anxiety in her face. And utter exhaustion.
She does not see the impressive beauty of the city in the rising suns soft light. Her frightened eyes search wildly for movement in the tall fynbos shrubbery behind her. She knows they are there, but not how near. Her breath races from exertion, shock and fear. It is ...
Deon Meyer's engrossing South African thriller pits Detective Benny Griessel against a mystery that unravels like the threads of a complex tapestry... Because the novel is set in contemporary South Africa, race relations and the legacy of apartheid are an inevitable topic, and Meyer works his social commentary into the story while remaining true to his characters... Thirteen Hours draws to a satisfying conclusion, with answers that prove surprising. You'll be glad that you invested your thirteen (or so) hours with this book.
(Reviewed by Cindy Anderson).
Full Review (1287 words).
Apartheid ("separateness", pronounced "apar-tate" in Afrikaans, although many English speakers say "apar-tide") was a government-enforced system of racial segregation instituted in South Africa (map) in 1948. Control of the government at that time was held by White Afrikaners, descendants of Dutch colonists who started to arrive in 1652, as well as descendants of British immigrants from the early 19th century onwards.* Under Apartheid, citizens were classified into three race categories: White, Coloured (people of mixed race), and Black (or Bantu). An additional category of Asian (which included Indians and Pakistanis) was later added.
Although racial segregation was not new in South Africa, between 1948 and 1994 laws were...
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