Dead at Daybreak Paperback – 2 Nov 2000
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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.
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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A great book from a consistently good writer. I would recommend all his books, they are very authentic and accurately portray the Cape Town politics and geography. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Michael Tiffin
An early role for Tiny in this tense but somewhat rambling story. Excellent writing with convincing portrayal of the main characters. As a result, it's a satisfying read.Published on 27 Dec. 2013 by Amazon Customer
Set in post apartheid South Africa, Zapotek van Heerden the main character is a mix of Harry Bosch and Philip Marlowe. A great read!Published on 26 July 2013 by brickers
Fantastic - gripping from the very first page. Couldn't put it down until I'd finished and left me wanting south more.Published on 19 July 2013 by A. Henderson
Deo Meyer does not disappoint. Page turner. When one lives in the suburb at the heart of the story makes it all the more interestingPublished on 7 May 2013 by Ethne Stevens