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Blood Safari by Deon Meyer: Book Review

Blood Safari by Deon Meyer, originally written in Afrikaans, translated by K L Seegers is set in South Africa. It’s a tense thriller/detective story.

Lemmer was demolishing a wall between the kitchen and bathroom on Christmas Day when the phone rang. It was his boss at Body Armour, a company specialising in personal security. Lemmer is a professional bodyguard and is hired by Emma Le Roux after she was attacked in her home by three men wearing balaclavas. Her brother, Jacobus had disappeared twenty years previously, but she thinks she saw him on the news, suspected of killing four poachers near the Kruger National Park and she is convinced by an anonymous phone call,  that the attack is connected to her brother.

Desperate to know whether Jacobus de Villiers is in fact her brother, Emma and Lemmer travel to the Lowveld to find out. This leads them into all sorts of dangers and Lemmer, who has a short fuse, doesn’t know who can be trusted, including Emma herself. Lemmer, an ex-con is the strong silent type. His First Law is: Don’t get involved and his second is Trust nobody. Despite that when someone tries to murder both him and Emma he has no choice.

This isn’t just crime fiction, however. It’s also a novel about South Africa, the countryside and its people. I found that just as fascinating, although at times the environmental issues came over as lectures and maybe would have been better if they were shorter – I now know quite a bit about African vultures amongst other things. But that is just a minor criticism as the book as a whole is totally engaging, with a satisfying plot, convincing characters and a colourful and well-drawn setting.