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4.4 out of 5 stars23
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 29 December 2004
Thobela Mpayipheli is an African giant, ex-spy, who is now living with his fiancé and her son in a small town in South Africa, called Guguletu. He has vowed never to go back to his old life, but his peaceful existence is broken when Monica Kleintjes, the daughter of one of his dear friends from the past, asks for his help. Johnny Kleintjes has been kidnapped and will only be released upon the delivery of a disk containing information that is crucial to national security. Kleintjes gathered this information when working in an integration project in an effort to document the real history relating to the events that took place in the dark era of the Apartheid.
Thobela, or Tiny as his friends call him, is a mysterious man that shows great kindness at moments, and cold-blooded violence at others. In a world when everyone wants to see things white or black, he presents a solid gray. This can be clearly appreciated by the reaction of the people as he goes on his quest, mounted on a powerful motorbike. Some see him as a hero, while others regard him as a dangerous man who cannot be good because he used to work as a "collector" for a drug baron. There is one reporter for the Cape Times, Allison Healy, who tries to answer the question: Is Tiny good or bad? This will provide us with valuable insight regarding the main character, but: can the question be answered with certainty?
One would thing that helping a friend that has been kidnapped would be hard enough, but Thobela has other problems too. Janina Metz, a high ranked officer in one of the intelligence agencies, had a wire that allowed her to listen to the conversation between the kidnappers and Monica. Therefore, she activated a special forces group led by a violent and vicious captain named Mazibuko. The idea is to prevent Tiny from delivering the information to the kidnappers. Thus, he is drawn into a mission filled with dangers and violence; a mission in which he will be faced with a worthy opponent in the relentless captain Mazibuko.
The exotic setting, the cleverly crafted plot, the exciting action, and the rich and complex main character, make this a novel that has it all. Deon Meyer has created a real masterpiece that is not even one notch below the work of some great authors in the genre, like John le Carré. I will be eagerly looking forward to this Meyer's new book!
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on 26 January 2011
This is the first Deon Meyer novel I have read. What a brilliant writer he is, with such a perceptive touch in peeling away the multiple layers of modern South African society, for good or ill, where all who lived through the history of recent decades are present day victims of the past in one form or another. Conspiracy, deception and cover-up in which no holds are barred and no-one is quite whom he or she seems to be are laced through the story from the highest level of government down. The hero is fit to stand on the page of any major thriller and to be compared with the very best. A central theme of the book pits him against the forces of the state in a man hunt conducted against the backdrop of the magnificent South African landscape. His loyalty to his friends and the sheer humanity of his character shine through his actions. If a six-star rating was possible I would give it.
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Not quite up to the standard of Meyer's previous two novels featuring Zatopek Van Meerden. Here he is relegated to a supporting role, something of a disappointment, with his replacement Tiny Thobela a less winning creation. Though the plot is often schematic and the central narrative stretches credibility, this remains a stark indictment of the corruption and ineptitude of post-Apartheid South Africa.
An interesting novel from a gifted author, this remains a flawed but enjoyable thriller.
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on 28 February 2013
Blurb....
When Johnny K is kidnapped and held to ransom, his daughter turns to his old friend Tiny. She has 72 hours to deliver a disc with sensitive data on it to the kidnappers. But some people are watching Tiny's every move - waiting for him to trip up and lead them to what they want.
Phew........ 420-odd pages of pure adrenaline filled, roller-coasting rocket fuel. I managed to read this in less than a day over the weekend, when I might typically read on average about 100-odd pages a day over the course of a month.
There must be something in the water in South Africa as Meyer and his fellow countrymen, Mike Nicol and Roger Smith have churned out some of the best crime fiction I've read in the past 6 months.
Heart Of The Hunter is one of Meyer's earlier books originally published back in 2003. Since then he has attracted a wider audience with 13 Hours, Trackers and his latest book 7 Days. Of his 3 most recent books, I have only read Trackers which if I'm totally honest didn't blow me away like this and last month's reading highlight- Blood Safari. 13 Hours is on mount TBR along with his earlier stuff.
Meyer gives us Thobela Mpayipheli - former fighter in the struggle for equality in South Africa. Thobela has a checkered past; previously loaned out by the ANC resistance, as a favour to operate for the KGB as an assassin; but now post-apartheid surplus to requirements. Thobela after a few years as an enforcer in the drugs trade has gone straight. With an ordinary Joe job and his love for a women and her son he has a dream of a farm where they can bring up the boy away from the dangers and temptations of the crime-ridden city; a place where he can learn to grow crops and see life flourish from his efforts, instead of choking it off at the core.
Tiny's plans are on track, until a former friend is kidnapped and he's sucked back into the vortex. To save his friend he has to deliver a disc to Lusaka within 3 days. Before too long he's fallen foul of the intelligence services seeking to recover the disc and stop the data falling into enemy hands. Thebola fleeing on a stolen motor-bike becomes a fugitive in a massive man-hunt organised by the authorities and fueled by the media which has broken the story.
Does the interests of the state, over-ride the basic rights of her citizens? Can you be loyal to the state but retain your principles and behave according to your conscience? Can people fundamentally change and out-grow their past and become more?
Sometimes you start reading a book that starts out in a promising fashion, but along the way loses its edge and ultimately crawls to an unsatisfactory conclusion. Not this book, and from the evidence of the last month or two, not this author. Pedal to metal from first page to last
5 from 5
Borrowed from my local library.
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on 6 September 2012
Very Good thriller but more important a picture of the confused racial politics tensions and corruption of Meyer's South Africa.
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on 13 March 2015
I have read all of this author's books so far and not one has disappointed me. I thoroughly enjoyed them. Can't wait for the next one to appear. He knows how to keep your nose in the book. Very hard to put down. Thank you Deon
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on 23 August 2014
Tiny Mpayipheli is perhaps my favourite DM character, perhaps the people who didn't rate HOTH would if they read Dead Before Dawn and Devil's Peak too...
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on 10 July 2011
Brilliant. Translation works and the evocation of the Cape Town environment is excellent. A real thriller that deals sensitively with the many problems the Rainbow Nation still faces as a legacy from the past.

Exciting and riveting story telling
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on 22 June 2012
What more can I say? Deon Meyer is a brilliant story-teller and this is equally as good as his other books.
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on 27 August 2013
Another gripping story from Deon Meyer who never fails to enthrall the reader. Very evocative descriptions of South Africa and the story grips you from beginning to end. A South African assassin who works for the Russians, retires but his past life catches up with him. I can thoroughly recommend this book.
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