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Payback Paperback – 2 Feb 2010

3.4 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Old Street Publishing (2 Feb. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906964165
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906964160
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.9 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 428,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'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'
John Connolly

'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'
Elle --**


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By MisterHobgoblin TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 13 July 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Payback looked like a gorgeous book – lovely cover, set in Cape Town, glowing 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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Blurb........

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."
John Connolly

"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

"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

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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For those of you familiar with Cape Town then this is the thriller for you. The story is set in the city and there are many references to places, street names and cafes that any Capetonian or visitor will be familiar with. 'Payback' is the first of a trilogy by Mike Nicol featuring two guys who run a security service but whose backgrounds are in gun running. Plenty of material to work with there. The writing is a little staccato at times but it's punchy with a gritty reality. I gave this book four stars because the second in the series (Killer Country)is even better and deserves five. I am eagerly awaiting the publication of the final book
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
it's a page turner, granted, lotsa colloquials, cars, violence, sex, sexual violence and torture, for those who like it; with some political/cultural sightseeing thrown in, but characters remain two dimensional; presents an unusual host of apparently strong dangerous women (which seems a good start), who, alas, are all in the end discredited, dead or in urgent need of sexual intercourse or rescue (or both) by the central (or other) male character(s) - so far so predictable. Clearly lead characters do not have to be likable, moral (or female) etc but there just isn't the complexity of character/plot or skill of writing here to carry this off (gratuitous rather than 'full on') + it turns what is meant to be a clever ending into a nasty surprise - leaves a foul after taste without which it would have been an ok holiday read.
But then, life is cruel, I suppose the author might say. That's been said better elsewhere.
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