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by Deon Meyer
Little, Brown, July 2004
384 pages
ISBN: 0316935492

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Thobela 'Tiny' Mpayipheli is a former enforcer. He has met the woman of his dreams and now works as a gofer at a motorcycle shop. Unexpectedly, he receives a call from Monica Kleintjes. Monica is the daughter of Johnny Kleintjes, who is a former friend of Tiny's. Johnny has managed to get himself kidnapped by someone who is looking for a hard drive he has hidden. Monica wants Tiny to travel to Zambia and trade the hard drive for her father.

Tiny has given up this type of life, but his loyalty and connection with Johnny is so strong that he decides to take the risk and try. The only thing that stands in his way is a secret government task force run by Janina Mentz. This organization wants to stop the transfer and want the hard drive returned to them. Tiny must risk his life and that of his loved ones in order to honor a captured friend.

HEART OF THE HUNTER is a well-written thriller. The dialogue is realistic, the story itself moves along and there is not a lot of gratuitous action. The fact that this book is translated into English makes this even more astounding. Most books that are translated are a little rough around the edges due to the differences in language and culture. Since this book does not seem rough, both the translator and the author should be commended.

The only thing that I was slightly uncomfortable with was the use of the secret task force. South Africa has not had a good reputation due to apartheid and this book shows that the situation has not changed much. This task force and their actions remind me more of the KGB and terrorist activities than the beginnings of diplomacy. What was frightening was the fact that Janina Mentz and those around her, felt that this task force was strong enough to impress the international community. As many of the problems in the book seem to be due to a lack of communication within this task force, I am uncertain that anyone should be impressed. Although the fact that the people in the task force are the bad guys, in this story, probably influenced my opinion greatly.

HEART OF THE HUNTER is the first book by Deon Meyer to be translated and released in the United States.

Reviewed by Sarah Dudley, August 2004

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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