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

Deon Meyer is an author you can take to the bank (or the hospital, the beach, and so on). Devil's Peak is the third mystery I have read by this writer. It is as good as the first two and the first two were excellent. Meyer is a reliable read: a solid detective novel with a smart plot, interesting characters, and no descriptive padding. Devil's Peak is a great though very dark and gloomy mystery where the good guys all have clouds over their heads.

Perhaps part of this reader's interest in Devil's Peak is the author is South African so the action takes place in that country and this gives the mystery a certain novelty. I do not really think so though. I just like a damn good book and Meyer is a damn good writer. I also like the fact he is not even close to being formulaic. This novel features the recurring characters of police detectives Matt Joubert and Benny Griessel but it is totally different in tone and in style from Dead Before Dying or Dead at Daybreak.

In Devil's Peak Meyer elegantly balances three different stories. A young woman confessing to a minister; a cop trying to recover what he has lost; and a man who has lost everything out for revenge. You do not immediately know what the link is between these three stories but you do get a tiny hint early on and have no doubt the author will make it all work in the end. He does.

The last couple of Meyer mysteries I read were real page turners. This is not quite the case here. Not because this is not a solid novel but because the story lines are a bit more complex and intertwined. I found Devil's Peak required a bit more concentration than what I am normally willing to give a mystery, even one by an author I am already very much sold on. The investment is well worth it though I do not think Devil's Peak should be read if you are feeling a bit down as it is a rather depressing mystery.