Monthly Archives: June 2016

BOOK REVIEW – Play Dead by Angela Marsons

Play DeadMany thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for my advance copy of this book in return for my honest review.

Picking up a Kim Stone book is like catching up with an old friend who you haven’t seen for a while. You’re immediately comfortable with each other, and you pick up right where you left off. That’s exactly how I felt as soon as I started reading Play Dead.

Angela Marsons has created a complex character in Kim; someone with a horrific background, who’s managed to create some sort of a life for herself, while attempting to keep these dark recollections boxed somewhere in a corner of her memory. With each new instalment of her books, Marsons uncovers a little bit more of Stone’s dark past, and scratches away some more of the hard shell she’s created to protect herself.

This time Kim and her trusted team are off to a body farm, well actually it’s a type of reward for work well done! For most of us, it doesn’t bear thinking about, but for people in their line of work, it’s just one more way to get some more experience in their already complex field. How exactly do researchers and CSI’s discover what they know about bodies and decomposition – well they learn all about stuff like that here at Westerley research facility. Except that they’re meant to learn it from old bodies in differing stages of decay, so when a brand new body turns up on the premises, things take a turn for the peculiar. Then another fresh body is discovered and it seems a serial killer is on the loose dumping bodies at the facility, which is meant to be a secret location and unknown to any members of the public.

The team is under pressure to keep the entire case under wraps – here comes Kim’s nemesis, nosy journalist Tracy Frost, who just knows how to press all of Kim’s buttons. But this time, something just doesn’t sit right. Why is Tracy bugging Kim about a cold case from years ago? It’s niggling at Kim and it just won’t go away. So in her usual stubborn way Kim attempts to work on the two cases in parallel, against the wishes of her boss and against serious opposition from the internal powers that be.

And the body count rises.

Once again, Angela Marsons manages to maintain, if not improve on, the incredibly high standard that Kim Stone fans have come to expect and anticipate. This is a fast-paced page-turner, and a welcome addition to an absolutely addictive series!



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BOOK REVIEW – The Scattering by Lauri Kubuitsile

The ScatteringAt the dawn of the 20th century Tjipuka and Ruhapo begin their journey as newly-weds in Okahandja, German South-West Africa. Filled with excitement and happiness, as they should be at the life that awaits them, there are storm clouds hovering that threaten to invade their comfortable, familiar world. For some time now, the Germans have been encroaching on the land that belongs to their people: the proud Herero’s. Their leader, Samuel Maharero, chosen specifically by the Germans because they can easily manipulate him, is selling out; giving away his people’s land and cattle. Should they stay and fight, or should they move away to Bechuanaland, which is ruled by the British? But Ruhapo will never leave – he’s not a coward, and he won’t run – he and his people will stay and fight the Germans. But the disaster that ensues sees the Herero fleeing for their lives.

Tjipuka is forced into the unforgiving desert despite wanting to remain in her home sure that Ruhapo will return for her. She realises though, that what she called home is no longer their safe haven and begins on a journey that will challenge her like nothing she could ever have anticipated. There are days when she prays that she will die, and she witnesses things that make her doubt her belief in the inherent good of man, especially the white man. She wonders how on earth the human spirit is expected to endure such hardship.

Riette grows up in the Transvaal with stern, farming parents. Lonely after the death of her brother, she has dreams to become a nurse and leave the harsh environment that her home has become. But her parents have little regard for her dreams and she’s cruelly married off to their much older neighbour, Henk, dispatched to live with him and his two daughters. Life is hard, and soon becomes even more difficult when Henk leaves her to run the farm as he goes to fight the British. The Anglo-Boer War brings unimaginable horror to their lives as Riette and the girls are forced off their land into a British concentration camp.

Through exquisite, evocative writing, Kubuitsile weaves the story of these two resilient women who must overcome shocking odds in order to survive. It seems that no matter how hard they try, the cards have been stacked against them, and they seem destined to suffer. But they are determined to accomplish whatever it is that they set out to do, proving to their adversaries that they cannot and will not be thwarted.

The pain and suffering that these two women undergo is unimaginable. The circumstances and conditions they have to endure are described here in detail that makes the reader shudder. But this is a story that must be told. Africa’s colonial wars are rarely, if ever, conveyed from a female perspective, and the fact that we have an author who is boldly willing to do this, and who has done it so admirably, must be lauded.

Thank you so much to Penguin Random House SA for sending me a copy of this beautiful book to review.

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