cover image Fever


Deon Meyer, trans. from the Afrikaans by K.L. Seegers. Atlantic Monthly, $26 (544p) ISBN 978-0-8021-2662-7

Meyer (Trackers) neatly integrates a whodunit into a sophisticated postapocalyptic thriller set in South Africa. In the near future, a new strain of coronavirus that developed from a chance interaction between an HIV-positive man and a sick bat has wiped out 95% of the Earth’s population in just a few months. In a brief, ominous prologue, narrator Nico Storm promises to reveal the truth about the murder of his father, Willem, who’s introduced in a flashback set after the plague struck, when Nico was a teenager. An encounter with some vicious feral dogs almost ends Willem’s life, but he survives, and he and Nico make their way to the town of Vanderkloof, which Willem, who used to be a geographer and a judge, hopes to make the center of a new beginning for humanity. Willem’s tireless efforts are clouded by the reader’s knowledge of how things will end for him, and Meyer effectively teases his ultimate reveal. Thoughtful character development complements the clever storytelling. Agent: Richard Pine, Inkwell Management. (Sept.)