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STOLEN LIVES by Jassy Mackenzie

STOLEN LIVES

By Jassy Mackenzie

Pub Date: April 12th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-56947-909-4
Publisher: Soho

A plucky p.i. gets more than she bargained for when she signs on as bodyguard to a high-maintenance matron.

In London, the police raid of a house of prostitution goes horribly wrong when one female suspect escapes after sinking her teeth into the neck of an arresting officer. About a week later in Johannesburg, Terence Jordaan, awakened late at night by a downstairs noise, goes to investigate. His wife Pamela, following a few minutes later, finds no trace of her husband. Private eye Jade de Jong arrives back at her rented cottage after an early-morning run to see the distraught Pamela sitting in a parked car just outside. Jade, who's recently ended an affair with rugged (and married) police superintendent David Patel, needs the distraction of a case. She figures that guarding the histrionic Pamela will be a snap until an unknown gunman takes a shot at them. And the more Jade learns about the Jordaans, like the fact that Terence owns a chain of "classy" strip clubs and Pamela is a former call girl, the leerier she becomes. Complicating the case is the apparent disappearance of Pamela's daughter Tamsin as well. David, meanwhile, struggles with his own problems with ex Naisha and a crime that hits close to home. David and Jade team up to untangle a crime wave with international dimensions.

Jade's sophomore adventure (Random Violence, 2010) provides a crackling pace and nonstop action, though little narrative finesse. Mackenzie's Johannesburg is as gritty and dangerous as noir L.A. or the drug meccas of South America.