Blood Safari

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It packs in South African history, culture, complexities and a finely woven plot, and even manages a very sweet little romance. The heart of the mystery is a truly evil bit of forgotten history, and Meyer makes it live again in a chilling description. Blood Safari manages to be both an exciting read and an eye-opening portrait of a nation. Although the politics are more insular than in his previous novels, the crisp action scenes are never less than thrilling. Some of us even take it upon ourselves as some sort of mission to put their books in the hands of friends and acquaintances.

Deon Meyer is someone who deserves a greater audience.

But they make a hell of a thriller. The Mpumalanga Lowveld becomes a sinister setting for a fascinating plot and the type of excursion into the past that has become a Meyer coup de grace. While the action scenes are plentiful and excellent, the plot is refined—a delicately prepared five-course meal.


In thriller fashion, the author keeps the momentum pulsating while his two main characters duck bullets, run for their lives, fight off man and beast. But all the while he is unraveling the story of South Africa today, and of twenty years ago; the ravaging of land, the needless slaughter of animals for greed, and how the delicate balance is between all the creatures and our own survival. But it takes a striking talent to provide insight, knowledge, and a reason to question and examine outdated or misleading concepts and information. Deon Meyer demonstrates all of these with a dry wit, provocative writing, and a perceptive awareness for human folly.

Meyer is expert in balancing all the lethal interests. He supplies much South African history and makes a depressing case for the inevitable disappearance of birds and animals that have been native to Africa for centuries. Lemmer is. It is all rendered with enough wry, dry humor to make the reader laugh out loud. Meyer gets better and better.

Blood Safari

South Africa, with its violent past and present, makes a suitable setting for this kind of book—things that might not be believable elsewhere could easily happen here. I swung the sledgehammer in a lazy rhythm.

It was Tuesday, 25 December, just past noon. The wall was thick and stubbornly hard. After each dull thump, shards of brick and cement broke off and shot across the plank floor like shrapnel. I felt sweat tracking through the dust on my face and torso. It was an oven in there, despite the open windows. Between hammer blows I heard the phone ring. I was reluctant to break the rhythm.

In this heat it would be hard to get the machine going again. Slowly, I put the long handle down and went through to the sitting room, feeling the shards under my bare feet. I wiped a grimy hand on my shorts and picked it up. As ever. What do you do for Christmas in those parts? Old rural tradition, huh? Woman from the Cape, actually.

She says she was attacked yesterday. She wants you for a week or so, paid the deposit already. Call me if you have any problems.

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At a quarter to seven on Christmas night a young man with long curly hair and steel-rimmed spectacles opened the door. He introduced himself as Henk and said they were expecting me. I could see he was curious, though he hid it well. There were noises from deep in the house—classical music, conversation.

The smell of cooking. He disappeared.

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There was a Christmas tree in the room, a big artificial one with plastic pine needles and mock snow. Multicoloured lights blinked. At the top of the tree was an angel with long, blonde hair, wings spread wide like a bird of prey.

More books by Deon Meyer

Behind her the curtains of the big windows were open. The bay was lovely in the late afternoon, the sea calm and still. I stared out at it.


She was tiny and slim. Her eyes were large and dark, the tips of her ears slightly pointed. She stood for a moment to take me in, the involuntary up-and-down look to measure me against her expectations. She hid her disappointment well.

The Blood Safari | Discography & Songs | Discogs

They usually expect someone bigger, more imposing—not this general average of height and appearance. I sat down. The movement of her petite body was fluid, as though she were completely comfortable inside it. Her suspicians are raised and she just has to find out if the guy she saw on TV is really her long lost brother. Lemmer, her bodyguard is sceptical but has a job to do and they travel to the KrugerNational Park together to investigate.

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This is an exciting read, plenty of gripping action, a mystery, vengeance and even a bit of romance. I loved the descriptions of the new South Africa.


Since then, I have read 2 more of his earlier books, but Blood Safari is definitley the best of the three I have read so far. Highly recommended. I'm a sucker for many of its themes, not least the damaged loner protagonist Lemmer, an ex-con now working as a bodyguard for a company called Body Armour, owned and run by Jeanette Louw, one of the most original owners of a security company I've come across in my reading travels. Lemmer is renovating his house in a small, neighbourly town of Loxton, South Africa. Emma's house was broken into and she was attacked by three armed, masked men a few days previously, barely escaping with her life.

She's staying with a rich benefactor-type, Carel van Zyl, an arrogant Afrikaaner whom, naturally, Lemmer instantly dislikes. Emma, however, seems nice enough and tells Lemmer how the break-in occurred just after she had seen a photograph of a wanted man on TV. Emma had phoned the local police because the man reminded her of her brother, who vanished many years previously. She misses her brother desperately so needed to find out if the wanted man is him.