by Deon Meyer
Hodder & Stoughton
Deon Meyer is not a flashy crime writer. He rarely, if ever, writes non-fiction suggesting Charles Dickens was Jack the Ripper. He’s just really good, and Stephen King agrees, comparing Fever to his own novel The Stand. This hints at the packed bandwagon Meyer has leaped on: one filled with bodies killed by fast-spreading pandemics. The works Meyer seems to have in mind are Terry Nation’s Survivors (1975-77) and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (2006), reconfigured in intriguing ways. Nico Storm is 47, the same age his father was when he died in “the year of the lion”. The coincidence sparks a “memoir” that is also a murder story, involving father and son. Nico looks after his dad, who is “not a fighter” but a “thinker and a leader”. These talents inspire him to plan Amanzi, a sanctuary for South African survivors, if there are any. Actually there are, and multiple perspectives explore ideas of race, morality, history and community. Exhaustive descriptions of work (setting up farms, generators, orphanages) compete with attacks by marauders and the sense that not everyone in Amanzi is on the level. Slightly long, but both moving and gripping.