cover image Devil's Peak

Devil's Peak

Deon Meyer, . . Little, Brown, $24.99 (409pp) ISBN 978-0-316-01785-5

Complex, finely wrought characters, keen psychological insight and a compelling plot lift this crime novel from South African author Meyer (Dead Before Dying ). Former mercenary Thobela Mpayipheli is trying to live a peaceful life, but these plans are shattered when his eight-year-old son, Pakamile, is shot dead. The two gunmen responsible escape before sentencing, and the grieving father decides to take matters into his own hands. As he pursues his son's killers, Mpayipheli begins to target pedophiles and other perpetrators of violence against children, meting out justice with a Xhosa tribal sword called an assegai. Dubbed “Artemis” by the papers as the killings increase, Mpayipheli becomes a kind of folk hero to the people of Capetown. Insp. Benny Griessel, an aging alcoholic whose struggles with the bottle have all but cost him his family and his life, works the case with a desperate intensity. Griessel finds an unlikely ally in Christine van Rooyen, a young prostitute, who lures the detective into a very dangerous plan of her own when her young daughter goes missing. This book is easily Meyer's finest effort to date. (Mar.)