cover image Icarus


Deon Meyer, trans. from the Afrikaans by K.L. Seeger. Atlantic Monthly, $26 (384p) ISBN 978-0-8021-2400-5

In South African author Meyer’s excellent fifth novel featuring Benny Griessel of Cape Town’s Directorate of Priority Crime Investigations (after 2014’s Cobra), Benny has been sober for more than 20 months, but he soon falls off the wagon after hearing tragic news about a colleague. Vollie Fish, who had caught two serial killers in four years, fatally shot his wife and two daughters and then himself, an apparent victim of his own demons. Meanwhile, someone has strangled Ernst Richter, called the Alibi Man for his website, which provides alibis, complete with phony documentation, for a price. Richter’s death alone would be enough to unsettle those who use his services, but in addition someone has created a Twitter account that threatens to list all his clients in 18 hours. Meyer heightens the suspense with scenes of a defense attorney’s conversations with an enigmatic client. The richness of the characters, especially the multifaceted Benny, elevates this above most contemporary police procedurals. Agent: Richard Pine, Inkwell Management. (Oct.)