A(nother) Year of Orenda – Deadly Harvest by Michael Stanley

Today is Botswana’s Independence Day, so what better time for Mandie to begin her Detective Kubu journey. She’s sharing a review of the first book in the series released with Orenda Books, Michael Stanley’s Deadly Harvest. I really enjoyed catching up on the Orenda backlist last year and you can read my thoughts here. Here’s what it’s all about:

Source: Amazon
Release Date: 15 May 2016
Publisher: Orenda Books

About the Book

A young girl goes missing after getting into a car with a mysterious man. Soon after, a second girl disappears, and her devastated father, Witness, sets out to seek revenge. As the trail goes cold, Samantha Khama – new recruit to the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department – suspects the girl was killed for muti, the traditional African medicine usually derived from plants, sometimes animals, and, recently and most chillingly, human parts.

When the investigation gets personal, Samantha enlists opera-loving wine connoisseur Assistant Superintendent David ‘Kubu’ Bengu to help her dig into the past. As they begin to discover a pattern to the disappearances, there is another victim, and Kubu and Samantha are thrust into a harrowing race to stop a serial killer who has only one thing in mind…

Available from: Amazon | Kobo | Waterstones | Hive | Apple Books

Mandie’s Thoughts

Although Deadly Harvest is book 4 in the Detective Kubu series it is the first one published by Orenda books and the first one I have read. Set in Botswana I was told that I would love this series and if Deadly Harvest is anything to go by then I am going to have to agree.

The book opens with the disappearance of a young girl on her way home from shopping and her devastated family never seeing her again. When another girl disappears, and her father reacts badly to the lack of police investigation things take a darker turn. Samantha Khama if fairly new to the Botswana CID and she wants to investigate the disappearance of these girls. She believes there are links to the practice of Witch Doctors and their use of muti. As she digs deeper she liaises with Detective Kubu as it is clear the recent murder of a politician and her case are linked in some way.

At first Kubu doesn’t really have the time to deal with Samantha and her investigation as he is heavily involved in a high-profile murder case but over time you can see that their relationship changes and they become a good team and you can see how Kubu uses his experience to guide Samantha as she becomes a little headstrong. I have to say there is part of me that agreed with Samantha as she dug into the world of witch doctors and their practices. In a modern age you have to wonder why the use of charms and potions is so important to people especially when the cost can be so high and not just in monetary terms. Yet it is these beliefs that keep them going so I can see that side too. She is also fighting a predominantly male department, so Kubu’s support is important even if she doesn’t always see it.

Kubu is also not your typical Detective… he doesn’t seem to have any major hang ups and is very close to his family. The insights to his family life that we are treated to bring his character alive throughout and make him seem just that little bit more real. Their closeness is what makes him a good mentor to Samantha as he does want her to succeed but he knows she will have to prove herself just that little bit more.

There are so many compelling characters in this book and the twists and turns of the investigation draw you deeper and deeper into the story as they seem to be chasing a myth and gives you a glimpse into a different way of life that you may not really understand. Now that I have discovered the writing team of Michael Stanley I cant wait to read further into the series.

About the Author

Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Both were born in South Africa and have worked in academia and business. Stanley was an educational psychologist, specialising in the application of computers to teaching and learning, and is a pilot. Michael specialises in image processing and remote sensing, and teaches at the University of the Witwatersrand. On a flying trip to Botswana, they watched a pack of hyenas hunt, kill, and devour a wildebeest, eating both flesh and bones. That gave them the premise for their first mystery, A Carrion Death, which introduced Detective ‘Kubu’ Bengu of the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department. It was a finalist for five awards, including the CWA Debut Dagger. The series has been critically acclaimed, and their third book, Death of the Mantis, won the Barry Award and was a finalist for an Edgar award. Deadly Harvest was a finalist for an International Thriller Writers’ award.

Books by the Authors

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