Thursday, November 10, 2016
Review of Cobra by Deon Meyer (Hodder and Stoughton, 2013)
Cobra is the fourth novel in the Benny Griessel series. Like its predecessors, it’s a fairly high octane police procedural thriller, with a strong sense of place and nicely penned characters. Griessel, along with his feisty female colleague, Captain Mbali Kaleni, are once again the stars of the show, along with Tyrone Kleinbooi, a pickpocket trying to pay his sister’s way through university. In this outing, Benny should be happy, now off the booze for some time and having moved in with new love, Alexa. But his sense of inadequacy with Alexa and the job is giving him the blues. The kidnapping of a British citizen and the death of two bodyguards and a wine estate worker provides an welcome distraction. When higher authorities try to push Griessel and his team to one side, it’s clear that they’ve started to investigate a case with international connections and local connotations. For Kaleni, the case gives the strong whiff of corruption from the Apartheid era and she’s not prepared to be sidelined. Tyrone is a pickpocket with a code who has chosen the wrong bag to lift a wallet. The plot is pretty linear as Griessel, Kaleni and co try to track down the hitman, ‘the Cobra’, and Tyrone tries to negotiate a swap of the wallet for his sister. However, Meyer skilfully swaps the narrative back-and-forth between the cops and Tyrone, providing a storyline that races along and was certainly difficult to put down. However, the tale runs out of steam a little towards the end and halts quite abruptly, which was a bit of a shame. Nonetheless, an entertaining read and I’m looking forward to the next instalment.