He walked down the narrow tarmac path, past tall palms and pine trees and a yellow notice board: STRICTLY AUTHORISED. CARS ONLY. AT OWNERS OWN RISK, to the spot just left of the pretty grey church where, on the same tar, she lay stretched out.
He looked up at the perfect morning. Bright, with hardly any wind, just a faint breeze bearing fresh sea scents up the mountain. It was not a time to die.
Vusi stood beside her with Thick and Thin from Forensics, a police photographer and three men in SAPS uniform. Behind Griessels back on the Long Street pavement there were more uniforms, at least four in the white shirts and black epaulettes of the Metro Police, all very self-important. Together with a group of bystanders they leaned their arms on the railings and stared at the motionless figure.
Morning, Benny, said Vusi Ndabeni in his quiet manner. He was of the same average height as Griessel, but seemed smaller. Lean and neat, the seams of his trousers sharply pressed, snowwhite shirt with tie, shoes shined. His peppercorn hair was cut short and shaved in sharp angles, goatee impeccably clipped. He wore surgical rubber gloves. Griessel had been introduced to him for the first time last Thursday, along with the other five detectives he had been asked to mentor throughout the coming year. That was the word that John Africa, Regional Commissioner: Detective Services and Criminal Intelligence, had used. But when Griessel was alone in Africas office it was Were in the shit, Benny. We fucked up the Van der Vyver case, and now the brass say its because weve just been having too much of a good time in the Cape and its time to pull finger, but what can I do? Im losing my best people and the new ones are clueless, totally green. Benny, can I count on you?
Excerpted from Thirteen Hours by Deon Meyer. Copyright © 2010 by Deon Meyer. Excerpted by permission of Atlantic Monthly Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Blood at the Root
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