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COBRA by Deon Meyer


by Deon Meyer ; translated by K.L. Seegers

Pub Date: Oct. 7th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-8021-2324-4
Publisher: Atlantic/Trafalgar

A chase-themed thriller set in the tense political climate of post-apartheid South Africa.

Detective Benny Griessel of Cape Town’s elite Hawks is called in when renowned mathematician David Adair is kidnapped from a remote hideaway, his bodyguards shot dead. The crime is traced to the international assassin team known as Cobra, which is after a memory card containing information that could expose major worldwide financial corruption. Meanwhile, Tyrone Kleinbooi, a small-time pickpocket who steals to support his sister, inadvertently winds up with the card when he robs Adair’s assistant and lover, Lillian Alvarez. Already running from the law, Tyrone witnesses a further shooting and now finds himself a Cobra target as well. Griessel’s team spends the book’s second half pursuing Tyrone, whose life would clearly be easier if he’d turn himself in. There’s also a major implausibility when Tyrone’s sister is shot point-blank by Cobras and survives with minor injuries. As the chase intensifies, recovering alcoholic Griessel struggles to stay sober and hold onto a new relationship. The story ends with a blast of violence that throws a sudden twist on a tidy ending and sets the stage for the next installment.

As always, Meyer (Seven Days, 2012, etc.) writes with a strong sense of character and an eye on post-apartheid politics, though the plotting here is slower and less compelling than previous books in the Griessel series.