Private investigator Jade de Jong returns to Johannesburg ten years after she fled the country following the death of her father, the former Police Commissioner. She is back, and Superintendent David Patel, former mentee and deputy of her father, requests her help in solving the murder of Annette Botha, the victim of a possible carjacking gone wrong. In the course of the investigation, Jade discovers a string of violent murders which may be connected to Annette’s death. Along with this investigation, Jade is also pursuing her own agenda of revenge, against the man she believes is responsible for her father’s death.
This book is filled with bloody and senseless violence, and whack-job is just about the only descriptor I could come up with for the main antagonist, and his cohorts. Nothing complex about him, just crazy-violent. And greedy.
Jade, Jade, Jade … what about her? She’s done things that wouldn’t stand the light of day. She has blood on her hands, vengeance in her heart, and she’s keeping bad company. She’s also a good investigator.
David Patel is pretty much a cipher for most of the book and, even accounting for the pressures of ongoing racism (he’s of Indian descent, in a position traditionally help by white Afrikaners), I felt he added nothing substantial to the investigation, and was mostly just whiny and ineffective for most of the book. I kept wondering when he was going to ‘man up’.
Though I didn’t much care for the main characters, I liked the tight writing, the post-Apartheid setting (some interesting insights there) and most of the overall plot. The ending, though, was somewhat head-shaking and dicey, and convenient.
Not great; not awful.
“There’s always crime, Jade. Stay here for a month and you’ll hear the stories. Same as anywhere in the world. It always looks like paradise till you buy a house.”