News From South Africa

By Mike Nicol

September was a busy and notable month for SA crime fiction what with Deon Meyer winning the Barry award for best thriller of the year, and a soon to be published Michele Rowe winning a CWA debut dagger award for her manuscript.

On top of that came the publication of Peter Church’s new novel Bitter Pill which is a follow-on of sorts to his first novel, Dark Video.  If you would like to read an extract from the novel click here.

In an interview Church had with Crime Beat he had this to say about his novel: ‘Youth and nightlife is where the action is and provides interesting material for me. It’s all happening out there, like the Kruger Park at night for humans, lots of excited wildlife scampering around while in the darkness the hunters wait. Cape Town is paradise and its people rich in culture, charity and diversity. But there are always a few who spoil the party. And that gives me something to write about.’

In the interview he goes on to discuss the role of women in his novels, the dangers of the internet, and the social settings of his novels.  To read the interview click here.

And then the on-going column of my new colleague on Crime Beat, Liz Fletcher, moved on from her discussion of James McClure to look at how women detectives and PIs feature in crime thrillers.  Her first post set the scene and then she examined in more detail the role of Margie Orford’s character Clare Hart. Fletcher is going to take this discussion further and her next column will look at Jassy Mackenzie’s feisty PI Jade de Jong.  But that will have to wait for my November column.

In closing here is a perspective from the US on SA crime fiction which focuses on the few writers who are published in the States.  The article first appeared in Publishers Weekly and while I think it highlights what is available outside the country, it doesn’t really hint at what is going on over here.  With a bit of luck this column and my blog Crime Beat will give a fuller picture of just how vibrant our crime thriller scene is.

The article by Lenny Picker can be found here.

Mike Nicol

Mike Nicol is a journalist and writer and now a hard-core crime fiction addict. He's published two crime novels - Payback and Our To Score (a co-authorship), and is a founder of the blog Crime Beat. He lives on Cape Town's peninsula, up a mountain, in the teeth of the wind.

Visit Mike at: www.crimebeat.book.co.za.

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