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Dead at Daybreak

New or Used: $19.95
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About the Author

Deon Meyer lives and works in Capetown, South Africa, where he both writes and works in the design of internet web-sites. He has recently re-married and now has whole or part-ownership in four children.


South African crime writer Meyer's expertly crafted second thriller (after 2004's Heart of the Hunter) confirms his place as one of the genre's finest new stylists. Afrikaner Zatopek "Zet" van Heerden, a former cop, is slipping fast into drunken dissolution when a colleague pulls him up and gives him an opportunity. An attorney, Hope Beneke, needs a private investigator fast to find a missing will. An antiques dealer, Johannes Jacobus Smit, was recently found burnt with a blowtorch and shot execution-style, the contents of his walk-in safe, including his will, gone. Beneke and van Heerden have only seven days to find the document before Smit's considerable assets revert to the state, leaving his common-law wife destitute. It doesn't take long for van Heerden to discover that "Smit" wasn't the person whose papers he carried, and that someone very important, quite possibly the state itself, wants to hide his true identity. Meyer keeps the suspense moving throughout the third-person narrative, alternating back and forth with van Heerden's own first-person account of his past. This is a remarkable achievement from a singular new talent. Agent, Isobel Dixon at Blake Friedmann. (Aug.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

'Deon Meyer recreates the beauty, wildness, and danger of modern Africa with an immediacy and force no other writer has achieved ... his work is undeniably "a cause for celebration"' -- Sunday Telegraph 'If DEAD AT DAYBREAK is anything to go by, we are seeing the rise of a major new, international writing talent. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.' -- The Big Issue 'A highly entertaining, page-turning transposition of the American private eye genre to an exotic and vibrant setting...a terrific new talent' -- Irish Independent 'Deon Meyer provides us with a gripping mystery solved by dogged legwork and occasional flashes of insight, and with a telling psychological portrait of a man and a nation haunted by a past that combines brilliance with much to be ashamed of' -- 'Deon Meyer's second foray into the crime thriller genre offers a slick plot, strong characters and a subtle insight into a changing country' -- Southern Cross 'Meyer weaves an impressively tangled web and taut narrative keeps the reader guessing until the last couple of pages' -- Heat*** on DEAD BEFORE DYING 'Abrilliant book. Deon Meyer does an excellent job of developing a whole range of characters who are affected by the changes in South Africa in different ways. And Thobela, a giant of a man in search of redemption, is a wonderful hero.' -- Michael Ridpath, author of THE PREDATOR, on HEART OF THE HUNTER 'A plot-driven page-turner, but clear attention has been paid to character development, motivations and dialogue as well. Joubert is a haunted yet sympathetic protagonist; his character fairly begs for a sequel.' -- Bookpage on DEAD BEFORE DYING 'Hooked me right from the start...a thriller with some weight attached and that is a rare find.' -- Michael Connelly on HEART OF THE HUNTER 'Out of post-apartheid South Africa comes a thriller good enough to nip at the heels of le Carre ... Wonderful setting; rich, colourful cast, headed by a valiant/vulnerable protagonist.' -- Kirkus Reviews*, on HEART OF THE HUNTER 'Like post-war Germany, post-apartheid South Africa offers fertile ground for reflective fiction ... Senior editor at Little, Brown, Judy Clain, a fellow South African, says, "Meyer has an extraordinary landscape -- a changed world where the ghosts of the past play a huge role." ' -- Publishers Weekly, on HEART OF THE HUNTER 20041122 'With simmering racial tensions, a bounty of natural resources, and a government whose members worked both sides of the cold-war fence, South Africa should prove fertile ground for many fine spy thrillers to come. Don't be surprised if quite a few of them are written by Meyer.' -- Booklist*, on HEART OF THE HUNTER 20041122 'Meyer subtly juxtaposes the heartbreak of the victims' families with the heartbroken detective assigned to their cases. Using humour and pathos in equal measure, Meyer builds a deeply moving portrait of a man in search of his own dignity, reclaiming his life one pool lap at a time.' -- Booklist (Starred Review) on DEAD BEFORE DYING 20041122 'DEAD AT DAYBREAK isa gripping read with a flawed but human protagonist who invites our compassion. This is the second novel by Deon Meyer, a fresh voice and a compelling storyteller' -- Manchester Evening News 20041122

South African crime writer Meyer (Heart of the Hunter) seamlessly merges two engrossing story lines in his second novel, at once a character study and a violent crime story set in Cape Town. In the first-person backstory, Zatopek "Zed" van Heerden traces his maturation from a boy in search of his soul mate to a hardened 38-year-old ex-cop who acts out at the slightest provocation. At first, Zed seems destined for a career as a criminal psychologist, cloistered in the world of academe. But when he tracks down the serial killer responsible years earlier for the brutal murder of his neighbor, he finds his true calling and joins the police force. He leaves after the death of his partner during a raid, but there's a much deeper reason for his guilt and despair. In the third-person crime story, Zed has been hired to find the will of Jan Smit, a murdered antiques dealer. As he begins to make headway in the case, sinister forces hinder his quest for the truth. A breathtaking pace, heart-pounding action set against a psychological backdrop, and a fascinating protagonist make this book a winner. Highly recommended for most public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 4/15/05.]-Ronnie H. Terpening, Univ. of Arizona, Tuscon Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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