As a private investigator, a cop’s daughter proves a chip off the old block when she solves a tough, tangled murder.
After more than a decade in England, Jade de Jong returns to her native Johannesburg at the request of Police Superintendent David Patel, the protégé and eventual successor of Jade’s father. It was her father’s death and her unresolved feelings for David that drove Jade away from her homeland, and time has not entirely settled everything in her mind. David wants Jade to probe the murder of wealthy Annette Botha, shot at close range in front of her pack of loyal guard dogs, who were locked behind her security gate. David sees the murder as the collateral damage of a carjacking, but the reader knows otherwise and Jade intuits the same. She zeroes in on Annette’s ex-husband Piet, the chief heir of her sizable estate. Here too the reader is a step ahead of the heroine, as a villain identified as Whiteboy monitors Jade’s movements, gloating at the success of “the Botha job.” Evidence leads Jade to Viljoen, a convict her father helped put away. At length the plot gets thicker and twistier, and Jade is menaced both by muscle-bound thugs and government bureaucrats. When they’re not following leads, both Jade and David, who has a young son with his beautiful ex Naisha, struggle with personal boundaries and the possibility of becoming lovers.
Mackenzie’s debut is a bit overstuffed, but key characters and a gritty style augur well for proposed future installments.