Icarus by Deon Meyer (first published in 2015 by Hodder & Stoughton)

Ernst Richter, creative entrepreneur and founder of Alibi.co.za. The company, as the name suggests, provides alibis for the cheating spouse.

While the seemingly unethical practise of lying for cheaters has made Ernst both a hero and a villain in the eyes of South Africa, it is only when his body is found buried at a beach that the story behind Alibi begins to come out. It does not have a happy ending.

Benny Griessel is a detective for the elite policing unit, the Hawks. An alcoholic, he has been sober for over 600 days.

All his hard work amounts to nothing, however, when a gruesome murder suicide involving a friend of his spurs Benny to undo all the days of sobriety with a drinking spree.

While Benny struggles to come to terms with his slip, and keep his secret, he must also catch the killer of Ernst Richter.

Battling demons on all fronts, Griessel needs to solve the case – not only for the sake of justice, but also to prove to himself and his colleagues that he is capable.

At the same time, Francois du Toit, a wine farmer and new dad, is busy speaking to an advocate, retelling what seems to be his entire family history, in order to provide context for his possible involvement with Ernst Richter.

Icarus is a very absorbing story. Two distinct narratives play out throughout the novel, and it is not until the last possible moment that the reader will discover how the two stories intertwine. The mystery runs so deep, that the ending is not in the least predictable, proving Meyer to be a master story teller and sneaky plot developer.

The Afrikaans slang scattered throughout cements the story as one which is truly African, and the glossary at the end of the book serves to assist any reader who does not understand the language; Meyer has written a South African story for an international audience, and he has done it well.

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