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An audacious departure of the internationally acclaimed South African novelist—a thriller with all the searing immediacy of today's headlines. Robert Poley is an unhappy writer of “airport” thrillers. His teenage son has been busted for drug possession, and his wife has recently left him for a woman. So, when a dead man's laptop computer is recently delivered to Poley, he escapes from his life to investigate the murder of its previous owner, Christo Mercer, an illegal arms trader who was fatally stabbed in a remote town in the Sahara.
Soon Poley is distracted from the barren terrain of his own life and drawn to the intricacies of Mercer's troubled psyche—a mind haunted by his nightmares, his past, and his clandestine involvement with a ruthless rebel. Poley becomes entangled in the complex web of social, political, and personal disclosures revealed in the vivid journal entries and cryptic e-mails on the hard drive of the dead man's computer. Piece by piece they reveal a pattern of corruption as severe as South Africa's in the aftermath of apartheid—years of suicidal inquiry, the Truth Commission, and continued social unrest. A chilling story of murder that masterfully evokes South Africa's recent past.
“Nicol lays out a chilling picture of corruption at the heart of President Botha's South Africa . . . with unsettling power and a strong sense of contemporary evil.” —Publishers Weekly
“With magnetic skill, Nicol presents a haunting, exotic panorama of African countries with histories and cultures still largely unknown in America.” —Arizona Daily Star
“Nicol keeps us off balance with his lightning switches of mood and point of view.” —The Boston Globe