Sunday, November 9, 2014
COBRA by DEON MEYER
Two years ago I read the novel 7 Days by Deon Meyer in which I was introduced to South African Captain Benny Griessel of the Hawks, the police department's top homicide unit. I remember him well, along with all of his personal problems, alcoholism being the most threatening to his life and career. Now a member of AA, divorced and recently having moved in with his girlfriend (also an alcoholic in AA), he is faced with one of the toughest criminal cases of his career. At the same time he is struggling with an intimate issue that he is unable to discuss with anyone. It forces him to sleep in the office frequently. When he appears rumpled and bleary-eyed in the morning, his colleagues assume he has fallen off the wagon.
Poor Benny. I know it isn't professional to write of him by his first name but Benny got under my skin two years ago and is still there. I simply think of him as Benny, an indication of what a strong character Deon Meyer has created in this series. His other characters are just as real and well depicted.
In this book we also meet a young pickpocket, Tyrone Kleinbooi, who is putting his sister through university. She wants to become a doctor and he is determined to give her that opportunity. He has been picking pockets since he was 12. Actually stealing is so ingrained in him that at one point when he is in desperate need of a cell phone, he wastes quite a bit of time trying to steal one before the sudden realization that he could just buy one. What a concept! I liked this young man very much for his good heart, and I worried terribly about him as he was caught up in Benny's case.
The killer in this story is one of the most amoral men you'll find in fiction. He kills without hesitation, without pity, without any thought except that the victim is somehow in between him and his goal. He is a killer for hire so his goal is to do his job, escape from the scene, and get paid. As the police identify him and learn his background there is an explanation for how he became such a deadly person but no real understanding.
No wonder it creates an almost overwhelming thirst in Benny even after more than 400 days sober. Can he overcome the need? Can he solve his personal problems, save Tyrone and his sister, and put this killer away? The story captured my attention and never let go. Deon Meyer is a great mystery writer with a wonderful character in Benny Griessel. I look forward to Benny's next case.
Source: Amazon Vine