Deon. Dead At Daybreak. Little, Brown. August 2005. c. 384p.
ISBN 0-316-00012-4. $23.95. Fiction.
South African crime writer Meyer (Heart
of the Hunter) seamlessly merges two engrossing story lines
in his second novel, at once a character study and a violent
crime story set in Cape Town. In the first-person backstory,
Zatopek "Zed" van Heerden traces his maturation from
a boy in search of his soul mate to a hardened 38-year-old
ex-cop who acts out at the slightest provocation. At first,
Zed seems destined for a career as a criminal psychologist,
cloistered in the world of academe. But when he tracks down
the serial killer responsible years earlier for the brutal
murder of his neighbor, he finds his true calling and joins
the police force. He leaves after the death of his partner
during a raid, but there’s a much deeper reason for his
guilt and despair. In the third-person crime story, Zed has
been hired to find the will of Jan Smit, a murdered antiques
dealer. As he begins to make headway in the case, sinister
forces hinder his quest for the truth. A breathtaking pace,
heart-pounding action set against a psychological backdrop,
and a fascinating protagonist make this book a winner. Highly
recommended for most public libraries.