Payback Paperback – 2 Feb 2010
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'Compelling . . . terrific dialogue, and Nicol's Cape Town is cool, dangerous, full of humour and very far from its touristy image . . . paints a vivid portrait of the moral confusion of post-apartheid society. If Deon Meyer is still the king of South African crime fiction, Mike Nicol is a clear heir apparent, not too far behind.'
Marcel Berlins, The Times
'This is not just superb genre writing: it is superb writing, period . . . Read Mike Nicol now, before everyone else starts telling you how wonderful he is'
'Mike Nicol is the rapidly rising star of South African crime fiction. His novels have everything I love about the genre in just the right amount: shady characters, twists, turns, murder, mayhem, humour, wonderful dialogue, white-knuckle pace and lots of authentic Cape Town colour.' Deon Meyer
'Watch out Elmore Leonard, here comes Mike Nicol, who scores 10/10 for this gritty, fast-paced thriller about revenge ... Payback has it all: murder, sex, drugs, crooked cops, greedy developers and revenge ... Nicol has captured perfectly the dark underbelly of life in Cape Town. Payback is so realistic you can almost taste the dagga and smell the cordite after the bombs explode ... You won t be able to put it down until you ve read the last line.' Southern Mail Read of the Week
'The dialogue is brilliant, the writing too, and Payback has perhaps the coolest ending one is likely to find anywhere' Mail and Guardian
'Exceptional ... Nicol is a talent deserving a wide international recognition'The Weekender
'A heady mix, and Nicol stirs it with vigour, inventiveness [and] wit ... Payback is a great read, pacy, cool, hard-bitten and hard-hitting. The laconic, street-smart style is so convincingly laid-back that it may blind readers to the artistry of the writing, which is taut and economical'Sunday Independent
'In the top rung of South African fiction writers ... Nicol s clipped dialogue and sparse, high-impact prose recalls that of revered American recluse Cormac McCarthy' The Citizen
'South Africa joins the hard-boiled stakes, and in a wondrous dazzling humorous novel. Imagine Elroy joining forces with Chester Himes, Coffin Ed, and Gravedigger, throw in the spectacular landscape of South Africa, and you ll get some sense of this wild and daring novel. One prays this is the first in a series if Tom Sharpe wrote mystery, this would be it.' Ken Bruen
'World class . . . pace, wonderful characters and brilliant dialogue'
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Top Customer Reviews
On the positive front, it offers a wonderful view of contemporary South Africa; the landscape, the suburbs, the townships and the atmosphere of Cape Town; journeys off to the safari lodges and a weekend away to the Angolan capital of Luanda. Every scene, every house, every street has been re-created with love. The conversations and the vibe all ring true; the will to live in an optimistic present even if it means reconciliation to an unhappy past. It’s a lively, pulsating, throbbing picture viewed through the eyes of both black and white; through the eyes of South African and visitor. The politics is there if you look and want to see it, but nothing is laid on too heavily; the reader is left to work things out for themselves – including sometimes that clear wrongs in the past don’t necessarily make for clear restitution in the present.
Alas, the story is not up to the setting. Payback is a story of gangsters and criminals, variously running guns, drugs and diamonds, all trying to rip one another off. The reader is invited to side with Mace Bishop and his sidekick Pylon Buso, independent “security consultants” who seem to have had violent and colourful pasts. Their enemies – a lawyer by the unlikely name of Sheemina February, various heavies, and some unusual from the United States are the baddies. To support this conceit, we are allowed to see Mace Bishop’s homelife and know a little about his past. The others are just cardboard cut-outs who are no more than their actions on the page.
This is a problem. A reader doesn’t have to like a protagonist, but a reader does have to care.Read more ›
More than a decade after the end of Apartheid, ex-gun-runners Mace Bishop and Pylon Buso are trying to settle down to a comfortable Cape existence. But when an old contact calls in a favour, they become embroiled once again in the country's violent underworld of crime and corruption - and with the lethal Islamist organisation PAGAD. A gripping tale of narcotics, arms-dealing and international intrigue, PAYBACK heralds the arrival of a major new crime-writing talent.
Praises sung by.........
Read Mike Nicol now, before everyone else starts telling you how wonderful he is."
"Mike Nicol is the rapidly rising star of South African crime fiction. His novels have everything I love about the genre in just the right amount: shady characters, twists, turns, murder, mayhem, humour, wonderful dialogue, white-knuckle pace and lots of authentic Cape Town colour."
"South Africa joins the hard-boiled stakes, and in a wondrous dazzling humorous novel. Imagine Elroy joining forces with Chester Himes, Coffin Ed, and Gravedigger, throw in the spectacular landscape of South Africa, and you ll get some sense of this wild and daring novel. One prays this is the first in a series if Tom Sharpe wrote mystery, this would be it."
I had high hopes for this book when I bought it, yet again sucked in and seduced by the soothing, enticing, creamy, lyrical and lavishing praise bestowed upon it by fellow authors. We've all bought those books and after reading them been puzzled and slightly disappointed; pondering whether a slight lack of intellect has thwarted us and as a result obscured the true majesty of the magical prose we've just invested time and money in.Read more ›
But then, life is cruel, I suppose the author might say. That's been said better elsewhere.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Being an ex Capetonian all the detail regarding demographics, different cultures, politics were spot on. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.Published 17 months ago by antjie
I couldnt finish it I just didnt care about any of the characters all very one dimentional and no atmospherePublished on 28 April 2013 by kindleaddict
Very exciting book full of suspense, similar standard of deon Meyer! I highly recommend reading this book, you won't be disappointed!Published on 8 Dec. 2012 by chantelle chelin
If I could give this book no stars at all I would. I very rarely abandon a book but I gave up on this one after getting 31% of the way through. Read morePublished on 13 Jun. 2012 by Mr. Stephen Mccarthy
Very good characterisation - Mike Nicol really paints a picture both of the people and places. If you know and love Cape Town it is even better. Read morePublished on 2 Jun. 2012 by Chris B
I have to say that this book is really not my 'cup of tea'. There is far too much coloquial language and I find it annoying to read. Read morePublished on 12 Dec. 2011 by P. J. Pearson
Riveting story line that genuinely attempts to place events of the present into the timeline of South Africa's history. Read morePublished on 4 Dec. 2011 by A. L. Mills