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  • Fabulous series!

    "Death of the Mantis" by Michael Stanley is the third in the Detective Kubu series and my first foray into South African based crime fiction. Having never read a South African story before I was a little worried whether I'd understand the locations and character names but I needn't have worried as an informative glossary explaining words and how to pronounce them was in the book. This was a great help and truly aided the enjoyment of my reading. The descriptive and atmospheric landscape really pulls you in until you could almost be standing in the red dusty sand yourself. The oppressive heat and constant thirst totally captured the South African ambience and I felt very sorry for the detectives trying to solve murders in such stifling conditions. I had much sympathy for the indigenous Bushmen (the first people of the Kalahari) wanting to live peacefully, sustaining the land and only feeding off it as necessary, always keeping in mind people behind them who maybe hungry and thirsty too. When three of their 'brothers' are suspected of murdering a Kalahari game ranger, the dedication to believing their innocence never wavered and it's not until Detective Kubu, with his stoic moral justice steps in and starts to unravel the truth after a further body is found. With an original premise and truly interesting characters I loved this book. Assistant Superintendent David Benju - affectionately known as 'Kubu' (which translates to hippopotamus) - is wholly original and a character I fully intend following throughout the rest of the series, reading the next in the series - Deadly Harvest - though this time published by Orenda books. Michael Stanley is actually writing duo Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip and having two writers really worked in this instance, their writing was so seamless it was impossible to tell the two of them apart. So much more than your average police procedural book with a fabulous Botswana backdrop and interesting and diverse characters, I'd happily recommend this book and wholeheartedly look forward to the rest of the books in the series. 5 stars

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