Thursday, December 16, 2004
The cover of Heart of the Hunter is no doubt familiar to anyone who attended the recent Bouchercon in Toronto. It was a freebie in all the book bags, and it seemed that many people were trying to get rid of it by putting it out on the "trade" table. Maybe they just didn't want to lug a hardback home. If they didn't read it, they were the losers, because it's very good.
It was originally written in Afrikaans and was translated by K. L. Seegers, who's done a fine job. I don't know what I was expecting exactly, but what I got was an espionage novel of the "every time I try to get out, they drag me back in" variety. Or of the "retired gunslinger can't quite hang 'em up" variety. But with a difference. The South African setting, for one thing. And while there's plenty of action, the book seems more influenced by John Le Carre than Ian Fleming. The big confrontation that I kept expecting never happened. Or rather it did happen, but not at all in the way I thought it would. There's also some violence, but it's mostly off-stage. There are plenty of twists and turns. Nobody can be trusted, and nothing is what it seems to be.
I'm glad I brought this home to Texas from Canada, and if you have it on your shelves, pull it out and give it a try. I think you'll find it rewarding reading.