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Dead at Daybreak Paperback – 2 Nov 2000

4.7 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Paperback, 2 Nov 2000
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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks; New Ed edition (2 Nov. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340739436
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340739433
  • Product Dimensions: 11.6 x 17.7 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 798,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

A provocative thriller of the new South Africa, Deon Meyer's Dead at Daybreak is set in a society where there are a new set of rules and people are still discovering the hidden depths of the old set. Ex-policeman Zed van Heerden is caught up in the betrayals of his own past, betrayals with which he has still to come to terms, when he is called in to look for a will, missing after the execution-style murder of a suburban antique dealer. Who tortured and killed Smit and who was he in the first place? Not the man whose papers he carries, that much is certain. Van Heerden can never be certain of the loyalties of the people with whom he is dealing--his own past reputation makes certain of that--and he soon finds himself uncovering secrets that the security services of more than one nation would like left well alone. Deon Meyer provides us with a gripping mystery solved by dogged legwork and occasional flashes of insight, and with a telling psychological portrait of a man and a nation haunted by a past that combines brilliance with much to be ashamed of. --Roz Kaveney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Deon Meyer recreates the beauty, wildness, and danger of modern Africa with an immediacy and force no other writer has achieved . . . his work is undeniably "a cause for celebration" (Sunday Telegraph)

If DEAD AT DAYBREAK is anything to go by, we are seeing the rise of a major new, international writing talent. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. (The Big Issue)

A highly entertaining, page-turning transposition of the American private eye genre to an exotic and vibrant setting...a terrific new talent (Irish Independent)

'Deon Meyer provides us with a gripping mystery solved by dogged legwork and occasional flashes of insight, and with a telling psychological portrait of a man and a nation haunted by a past that combines brilliance with much to be ashamed of' (Amazon.co.uk)

'Deon Meyer's second foray into the crime thriller genre offers a slick plot, strong characters and a subtle insight into a changing country' (Southern Cross)

Meyer weaves an impressively tangled web and taut narrative keeps the reader guessing until the last couple of pages (Heat*** on DEAD BEFORE DYING)

A brilliant book. Deon Meyer does an excellent job of developing a whole range of characters who are affected by the changes in South Africa in different ways. And Thobela, a giant of a man in search of redemption, is a wonderful hero. (Michael Ridpath, author of THE PREDATOR, on HEART OF THE HUNTER)

A plot-driven page-turner, but clear attention has been paid to character development, motivations and dialogue as well. Joubert is a haunted yet sympathetic protagonist; his character fairly begs for a sequel. (Bookpage on DEAD BEFORE DYING)

Hooked me right from the start...a thriller with some weight attached and that is a rare find. (Michael Connelly on HEART OF THE HUNTER)

Out of post-apartheid South Africa comes a thriller good enough to nip at the heels of le Carré ... Wonderful setting; rich, colourful cast, headed by a valiant/vulnerable protagonist. (Kirkus Reviews*, on HEART OF THE HUNTER)

Like post-war Germany, post-apartheid South Africa offers fertile ground for reflective fiction ... Senior editor at Little, Brown, Judy Clain, a fellow South African, says, "Meyer has an extraordinary landscape - a changed world where the ghosts of the past play a huge role." (Publishers Weekly, on HEART OF THE HUNTER)

With simmering racial tensions, a bounty of natural resources, and a government whose members worked both sides of the cold-war fence, South Africa should prove fertile ground for many fine spy thrillers to come. Don't be surprised if quite a few of them are written by Meyer. (Booklist*, on HEART OF THE HUNTER)

Meyer subtly juxtaposes the heartbreak of the victims' families with the heartbroken detective assigned to their cases. Using humour and pathos in equal measure, Meyer builds a deeply moving portrait of a man in search of his own dignity, reclaiming his life one pool lap at a time. (Booklist (Starred Review) on DEAD BEFORE DYING)

'DEAD AT DAYBREAK is a gripping read with a flawed but human protagonist who invites our compassion. This is the second novel by Deon Meyer, a fresh voice and a compelling storyteller' (Manchester Evening News)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Thriller which reminded me a bit of Ed McBain. The story was totally believable and illustrated the complexities of modern South Africa but still giving hope for the future. Easily identified with van Heerden as the 'bad' good buy. Had me hooked until I finished the last page
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What a great read. I had never heard of this author until I came across a review on another site. Wasn't at all sure I would like what seemed to be quite a masculine book, South African viewpoint...was it all going to be ex-commando types being tough in the new SA world order? I was being close-minded and was thrilled that I discovered Deon Meyer, more so in finding a rare treat of a "hero" in Van Heerden. I liked the way his back story unfurled in parallel to present day events...and what a story! My only disappointment is that this flawed but real character does not seem to appear in any future books as I for one would love to follow on from where Van Heerden finds himself at the end of this book. I have ordered the next in the series, although it doesn't feature him, because Deon Meyer can really tell a story and he has me hooked.
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Format: Paperback
Zapotek "Zet" van Heerden is beaten, bruised, and sleeping off a drinking binge in a South African jail when he is hired to work as a private detective for attorney Hope Beneke. Hope's client is the lover of Johannes Jacobus Smit, an antiques dealer who was tortured with a blowtorch before being shot and killed. His safe, reportedly containing two million dollars, has been emptied, and his will, purportedly leaving everything to his lover, has been stolen. If it cannot be found within a week, everything will go to the state.
Living on the edge and decidedly antisocial, Zet van Heerden is fighting numerous personal demons. Once honored as an intelligent and resourceful crime fighter, he feels responsible for the death of his mentor, Nagel, who was shot in front of him. Filled with rage which he does not even try to control, he now lashes out at the world and then escapes into an alcoholic stupor.
As van Heerden tries to unearth the will and information about Smit's past, he also investigates events from 1976, when Smit was in the army, and from 1983, when Smit accumulated an enormous amount of cash. During his research, Zet is haunted by two other cases--one from 1991, involving the murder and mutilation of a woman who lived behind him when he was a teenager, the event which led him to join the police force, and the recent tragedy involving Nagel's death, which led him to leave the force.
As van Heerden's family background, his past love life, and the events which have brought him to his present state unfold, the reader comes to appreciate how disturbed van Heerden really is and to feel sympathy for him.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I *love* Deon Meyer. I only discovered him this year, and devoured everything he's written. He has an incredible gift for weaving characters' stories through multiple books. Someone who was only a minute character in one book may befriend another character three books later, or become the victim or perpetrator another two books after that. For this reason, as well as the sheer joy of watching the detectives' lives unfold as years pass, I recommend reading the books in the order they were written, NOT as Benny Greissel series etc. Benny shows up in other books, as a sort of aside sometimes, and it allows you to follow his development and understand why he does what he does. His boss is also featured in multiple books.

Also the insight into post-Apartheid life is illuminating. I enjoyed too the working of stories around events I followed from my home in Canada, such as the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Go get his books. You will not regret it.
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Format: Paperback
What a wonderful journey into Van Heerden's world and personality. Van Heerden's sensitivity and intelligence shine through in this book. Deon Meyer has written a truly gripping thriller which not only gives the reader an insight into Van Heerden's world, but also that of the police force in South Africa. The chapters alternate between the present, pacy action and an autobiography by Van Heerden. This is definitely a book worth buying.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Was a liitle disappointed as the reviews were so positive. Having read all of Tony Park and all of Roger Smith I decided I'd give Deon Meter a try. Alas I wasn't impressed enough to pay as much as the asking prices for his books.
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I read a lot of crime fiction. My favourite writers are James Lee Burke, Michael Connelly and Jo Nesbo. I like good characterisation and books where the characters and their lives are of more interest than the solution of the crime. I was delighted to discover Deon Meyer who is an excellent writer. It also provides an insight into South Africa and Afrikaans culture. strongly recommended.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There is no such thing as a bad Deon Meyer novel. This one is brilliant, developing the character of Benny Griessel in and around where I grew up in Cape Town. Come on Mnr. Meyer - write a few more please.
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