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Devil?s Peak
Deon Meyer
Translated from Afrikaans by K.L. Seegers
Little, Brown and Company 2008
407 pages

Devil's Peak is a dark, brooding, somewhat complicated and depressing mystery. It is well worth the time a reader will invest in it. Unlike previous novels by Deon Meyer like Dead At Daybreak and Dead Before Dying, this one does not move as quickly for it is a more complex tale with a more elaborate structure. It is like the others a very solid and rewarding read.

Meyer's main character Detective Joubert takes a back seat to his sidekick Detective Bennie Griesel. Devil's Peak is the story of Griesel trying to climb back out of the bottle he has been hiding in for a while, of a young woman telling her story to a minister, and of a father exacting revenge on the man who killed his son before expanding his anger towards others of his ilk. This is a mystery about family. Griessel wants his back, the father wants revenge for losing his, and the young woman … well, you'll have to read the book.

I am not a very patient reader. Most of the mystery novels I prefer are basically popcorn for the mind. Devil's Peak needs to set up its three concurrent stories and three main characters so it takes a while to get to a point where the pages turn by themselves. Fortunately I already knew Meyer is a very, very good writer so I never doubted all these three stories would come together and the pay off would be worth it. Even if you are not familiar with this South African writer there is something in the way he writes that immediately convinces a reader he or she is in very good hands. The author also gives a clue early on there is a connection between the stories

Devil's Peak is not absolutely perfect. There is a rather didactic passage in one of the last chapters. By then though you have been turning page after page racing towards the conclusion so it does not get in the way.

The Italian translation title for this mystery is Afrikaans Blues. Appropriate though these are very dark blues.