Icarus by Deon Meyer, translated by K.L. Seegers
Atlantic Monthly Press, October 2015
Disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher.
I’ve hopped around the Benny Griessel series by Deon Meyer– a couple early ones in the series, a couple of the most recent stories, and I liked this one a great deal though it’s not as thriller-y in terms of plot twists as what I usually like. Meyer focuses on an array of police officers, and they are fairly rounded. I think someone who’s read all of the books (I think we have some overlapping characters between series/ standalones) would understand the characters a bit more than I did with the quick summations peppered throughout the story.
Icarus is about the murder of a tech entrepreneur: he founded a company that provides alibis for adulterers, and the premise has a bit of the ripped-from-the-headlines feel. The other main storyline involves a client’s interview with his lawyer just before Christmas, and for a large portion of the book it’s unclear what that interview has to do with the murder investigation. It’s the story of a family of wine-growers, and besides learning a lot about grapes and the wine industry in South Africa, I learned a great deal about a strange, strange family. The twists in that storyline were more interesting to me than the police investigation storyline.
In the police-procedural part of the book, Meyer spends a great deal of time in Griessel’s head as he starts drinking again and tries to stop drinking again. I thought that the scene with Benny’s psychologist didn’t feel shoe-horned into the story though it played the part of providing a snapshot of just how hard it will be for Griessel to stay sober if he continues in his current job.
Finally, one drawback of reading the electronic version of this book is that I couldn’t easily flip between the story and the glossary. The glossaries in this series are full of context that I would miss.