This is not the first book by South Africa writer Deon Meyer that I have read. Each book is a story filled with complexities in the set up of the developments. You have to be a careful reader and at best you should read the book in one go. For in the way you will be able to enter the complexities and follow them up by your reading. When you put away one of his books fror a few days, you might be lost when you make a restart.
I fear that it took me too long to finish this book. This is not due to this book, but to all kinds of compelling activities that filled my days. The complexities of this book left me wondering at the end. Maybe this was one of the aims of Deon in writing this book. to leave his readers wondering about what he has read in those 500 pages.
The story is set in South Africa and is not contained within its borders. Animal protection and muslim extremism and violent gangs all tumble around in an enormous setup, mixed with a dose of Bin Laden. A farmer by the name of Brand has a small collection of animals on his land. He wants to add to rhino’s to his collection. He made contact with a tranporter who will import thse two animals from Zimbawe. He has made contact with Ehrlichmann who runs a safari business and on the side does some illegal activities in capturing and transporting protected animals. Farmer Brand ask a local man, by the name of Lemmer, to travel to the border and bring the captured animal to his farm. Lemmer has experience in protecting important people in business and other branches of life. At the South African Lemmer collects the animals and he and his driver are joined by Vlo van Jaarsveld, who pretends to be a vet, but in reality she is a famous tracker, with good connections high up in the Zimbabwean government. On the way back to the Brands farm the lorry is being stopped by a gang looking for smuggled diamonds. The gang run by Inkunzi (an international car thief) is unable to find the diamonds and leaves the place of the assault. The gang takes the Glock, owned by Lemmer. After delivering the rhino’s Vlo van Jaarsveld disappears in the night. Lemmer wants revenge and travels to Johannesburg to find Inkuzi and his Glock. He finds Inkuzi and that is the end of him.
There are more threads in this story. For instance an muslim group that is preparing a special activity. Is it an terrorist attack? Is it a smuggle operation? Or is the group smuggling weapons from overseas via Namibia? And what is their connection to that car thief Inkuzi (may his soul rest in peace) and the diamonds that have been smuggled from Zimbabwe?
Another thread is spun by the man Lukas Becker who tries to contact Inkuzi. He demands money from Inkuzi. The car thief is not very forthcoming, but Becker is very insistent. In order to get his money back Becker even makes contact with Osman, one of the people of that extremist muslim group, trying to undertake a covert operation. Is Becker an operative of the CIA? Is he a smuggler himself of archeological artefacts.
We come across the detective Matt Joubert (an old friend of Bennie Griesel, a well known character created by Deon Meyer in other books) who is chasing the whereabouts of a man called Flint. Who is this Flint who works at the office of a bus company? In what shady deals is he involved? How do his activities touch those of the other threads?
I admit, it is complicated. And it is captivating. It is one of those books that deserve a second and third read. And I am sure, each time I will discover more. Now I have to find some time to go for that second time and do it in one go.
Deon Meyer – Spoor – Human & Rousseau 2010