Tuesday 6 September 2016

Dead in the Water by Irna van Zyl

Irna van Zyl is a South African journalist, with 30 years in the media trade, and many accomplishments. 

Set in Grootbaai, a fictional town near Hermanus and also featuring the Western Cape, this, her first novel, introduces Storm van der Merwe, a suspended detective warrant officer as its protagonist.

It opens with a "car chase" on our SA roads - featuring a bakkie, a beetle and a truck. Plenty of action, and a typically South African scene. 

Later, Storm, walking her dog on the beach, finds a body. You can probably predict the rest - especially if I say the words perlemoen(abalone) poaching, shark diving and tow trucks. 

All the ingredients, this book, translated from the Afrikaans, had great potential as a crime thriller. The writing was ok - a few moments had me wondering if it was the translation ((this is Moordvis in the vernacular - which sounds way better), or the original text that had some repetitive turns of phrase. For me, it was the lack of character development and  personalities that left me not caring what happened to whom. And frustrated, because I so wanted to enjoy it.

Predictable, familiar and ultimately fairly boring, I plodded through this one.

2 stars

ISBN: 9781485903581

More South African crime fiction from Deon Meyer - try Icarus. Or what about Paula Marais - Love and Wine.

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