Home comings are often portrayed as bittersweet, and Jade De Jong's return to Johannesburg, South Africa, after an absence of ten or so years, is no different. Shortly after her father, a police superintendent, was murdered, she fled the country, eventually working an assortment of private security and investigative jobs. Now she has returned and is looking for revenge.
It didn't take long for complications to arise. When her friend, the new Police Superintendent David Patel, picks her up at the airport, he asks if she'll help investigate a recent murder. While the police think that Annette Botha's murder is either a botched carjacking or a robbery, Jade has to be sure. This investigation leads her into some very dangerous situations.
I liked the character of Jade De Jong. She presents as a respectable woman, successful and capable. Then I met the other side, the loyal side. She knows her father's death was wrong, and she is willing to do what it takes to get justice/revenge, though she also knows when to pull back and let things work themselves out.
This contrasts with Whiteboy, who can barely restrain himself. He is a ticking time bomb that has gone off at least several times already. His actions are brutal and are described with all the gruesome details. Not to be read by the faint of heart. At the same time, I don't think this story would read as well if the violence were toned down, it wouldn't seem real (not that we want this kind of violence to be real).
I was fascinated by Ms. Mackenzie's descriptions of the levels of security that South African's use in their daily life. Security fencing with automatic gates, armed guards at the entrances to gated communities and hired, private guards to roam neighbourhoods and answer calls for assistance. This is in stark contrast to the safety I feel here in Ontario, Canada.
I listened to the audio book version which was produced by Blackstone Audio. 8 hours 57 minutes, unabridged. It was read by Justine Eyre, who had me totally convinced that I was in Jo'burg, as Jassy calls Johannesburg. At first I had trouble differentiating between the male and female characters, but one I stopped trying to figure that out and wait for the story to guide me, I was fine.
Jassy Mackenzie has added two further books to the Jade De Jong series. The second book, Stolen Lives is on shelves now, and the third, Worst Case was out in South Africa in August 2011, and will be released internationally under the title of The Fallen in April 2012.
Thanks to Blackstone Audio for the use of the cover image.