A hardboiled South African private eye blocks out her messy personal life long enough to find her friend's killer.
Detective Jade de Jong has taken up scuba diving to conquer her fear of open water and also, characteristically, to challenge herself. She finds a kindred soul in her instructor Amanda Bolton, who also works as an air-traffic controller. As her relationship with David Patel, a Johannesburg police superintendent, gets more serious, Jade contemplates settling down into domestic bliss. So she's tempted when a thug from her checkered past named Robbie rears his sleazy head, Sauer in hand, and offers her a financial killing that would set her up for life if she'll carry out a contract hit, something she might once have considered. (Her dad was a police superintendent and David's mentor, her mom a criminal.) Everything changes for Jade with the news that David may be reconciling with his pregnant wife Naisha. Fortunately, Jade has Amanda as a confidante—until Amanda is found murdered, and Jade must table her troubles to find the killer. Other criminal cross-currents, introduced early on, swirl around the central mystery, including the murder of an academic named Themba Msayama, who sent Amanda a postcard, and the nefarious plan of a pair of shady masterminds called Bradley and Chetty, revealed in increments. David's collaboration with Jade is his opportunity to get back into her good graces, if only she'll let him.
Jade's third caper (Stolen Lives, 2011, etc.) has an appealing edge and a strong yet vulnerable heroine, full of human flaws, though the plot once again runs a bit amok.