A(nother) Year of Orenda – Dead of Night by Michael Stanley

Today Mandie shares her thoughts on Dead of Night by Michael Stanley a standalone thriller that takes a long look at the money, the conflict and the power behind the poaching industry. I reviewed the book a couple of years back and you can find my thoughts here. Here’s what it’s all about:

Source: Amazon
Release Date: 18 June 2018
Publisher: Orenda Books

About the Book

When freelance journalist, Crystal Nguyen, heads to South Africa, she thinks she’ll be researching an article on rhino-horn smuggling for National Geographic, while searching for her missing colleague. But within a week, she’s been hunting poachers, hunted by their bosses, and then arrested in connection with a murder. And everyone is after a briefcase full of money that may hold the key to everything…

Fleeing South Africa, she goes undercover in Vietnam, trying to discover the truth before she’s exposed by the local mafia. Discovering the plot behind the money is only half the battle. Now she must convince the South African authorities to take action before it’s too late. She has a shocking story to tell, if she survives long enough to tell it…

Fast-paced, relevant and chilling, Dead of Night is a stunning new thriller that exposes one of the most vicious conflicts on the African continent…

Mandie’s Thoughts

Dead of Night is a standalone book by the writing team Michael Stanley. Having loved the Detective Kubu series I was looking forward to diving into the story.

When her friend Michael Davidson disappears when he is working on a story for National Geographic on the devastating practice of Rhino poaching, Crystal Nguyen convinces them to let her take over the story so that she can try to find out what has happened to him. Warned that this was not going to be a straightforward assignment she headed to South Africa to see what she could unearth. Her investigations see her travelling to both Switzerland and Vietnam as she follows the trail left by Michael before heading back to South Africa against everyone’s advice

Crys is certainly determined in her quest to find her friend and is willing to do whatever it takes no matter what the outcome, but she also knows that she must deliver the story she promised. I did like Crys but there were times when I felt that I would love to shake her, especially when she risked the lives of herself and those who were trying to help her, and you have to wonder if her quest for the truth is more important than her own life.

Dead of Night is a book that does not shy away from the harsh reality of the illegal trade in Rhino horn, showing the story from both those who try to prevent it and those who are involved in it. This is big business and as long as there is a demand as people still believe in the myth of the healing properties or see it as a status symbol then there will be no end to it. The retribution against the criminals if they are caught is harsh as it is used to serve as a warning to others. Although the act can not be condoned the reasons why people turn to poaching as a last resort to provide for their families is worth the risk to them as it will earn them more than they could ever hope in a normal job. Despite some of the brutality depicted in the book, thanks to the brilliant descriptions by the authors you also see the beauty of the area, especially when Crys and a group of tourists go on a camping safari, showing why so many are drawn to the area to see such beautiful creatures in their natural habitat.

What is evident is just how much these two writers love the country that their stories are set in. Dead of Night is a book that will stay with me for quite some time, both for the subject matter and the beauty of the writing itself

About the Authors

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. 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. Dead of Night is their first stand-alone thriller.

Books by Michael Stanley

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