I enjoyed this book, and found it great fun.
First of all, the writing style is very interesting, - it is first-person narrated in a somewhat formal voice and is very evocative of a 50’s noir detective story - you can almost picture the hardboiled private investigator protagonist talking out of the corner of his mouth, wearing a crumpled trench coat with a cigarette dangling as he fights bad guys.
The timeline of this story, however, is current day and concerns the kidnapping of a wealthy wife, and the efforts of a dedicated PI, Sol Nemo, (who is a family friend), and who struggles to get to the bottom of the crime and its subsequent happenings.
The book is set in South Africa, including areas in and around Port Elizabeth as well as Cape Town. The choice of the setting is superb - South Africa, with its terrible history of apartheid, brutality and crime is also spectacularly beautiful. Providing the perfect backdrop to explore themes including rich vs poor, good vs evil, and of course, the ever-present impact human culture places on race. Our hero, the protagonist Sol Nemo, is also mixed race, and the effect of this on his character development is best described in his own words.
“The fact is the colour of my skin leaves me stranded in the middle between the two groups, and as often as not, despised by both”
Sol Nemo is one of the best protagonists I’ve read in a while. As the narrator of our story, his dry wit crackles. He’s strong, he’s brave, he’s awesome. But, interestingly, he’s also broken, suffering from a host of issues stemming from his childhood including anxiety, nightmares, PTSD, and panic attacks. He’s also crazily (and unexpectedly) rich, sometimes brutal and deeply unforgiving. In other words, a wonderful, nuanced, complex character to hold the focus of many more books to come.
The plot was also detailed and interesting, and there were some good twists along the way.
The only drawback, I felt, was the last hundred pages of so became almost completely action-driven, and it was harder to maintain a chunk of the connection I was feeling with the character, Sol. Kind of like the inevitable big car chase scene in a movie that just goes on for too long.
Overall, however, this book was very well written and I would love to read more Sol Nemo Mysteries. Oh and did I mention his mysterious girlfriend Ayesha? Very intriguing.
by NetGalley review
I've been writing for a while. In fact, it's been a long while as I completed my first novel when I was about 20 years of age. I don't remember much about it now except that it concerned a plot to extort money from the Government. Some of my research for it though, on the subject of explosives as I recall, evidently caused a chilly breeze to blow through establishment circles which resulted, one sunny afternoon, in police officers paying me a visit...
Well, if you would like to find out how the story ended, please have a look at my website. Not only will you discover how I extricated myself from what could have been a tricky situation, but you will also gain an insight into the rest of my background and more importantly into the world of Sol Nemo, a rich but mentally troubled private investigator, based in the vibrant city of Port Elizabeth, South Africa.