Four stars (of five)
Resuming my ongoing interest in Mackenzie’s series, I rushed to learn a little more about Jade de Jong and the mysteries in rural South Africa. Attending a scuba holiday with her love interest Superintendent David Patel, Jade is able to finally relax in her surroundings. She’s left Johannesburg behind her and can focus on rebuilding the strained relationship. However, earth shattering news brought by David adds new angst to Jade’s life and dissolves any possible relationship she and David might hope to share. These romantic questions soon dissolve when a young scuba diving instructor is found stabbed to death in her soon. Jade and Patel must work together with the local authorities to learn how such an unlikely victim found herself on the wrong side of someone’s rage. A random postcard turns up, citing 813 and The Fallen, which leads Jade down a winding path to learn more about environmental politics in South Africa, and the world over. Amidst her search, Jade takes some time out to further investigate her mother’s death and the mysteries surrounding it. The narrative she has believed her entire life may hold but a peppering of truth, controversies her father took with him to the grave. With a fast-paced story and wonderful ending, Mackenzie treats series fans to a wonderful novel that builds momentum on so many levels.
The story has its moments and does fork off in many directions on numerous occasions, but this does not entirely lessen the impact of the narrative. As I reader, I found myself led down a certain path, destined to see the story play out, only to discover that it was but an educational side-trip, with little key probative value to the larger story. However, once the pieces all come together, the reader is transfixed and races to the end, much as Jade does in the story, only to discover how wrong they might have been. This is the sign of a great author, able to lure the reader in with a simple writing style.
Kudos, Madam Mackenzie for another great novel. I am pleased to have taken the gamble on this series and all you bring to it.