••• The International Writers Magazine - 23 Years on-line - Reviews
The Dark Flood by Deon Meyer
Hodder & Stoughton (April 2022)
Sam Hawksmoor review
Fast pacy crime thriller set in the Cape
Curiously I read Dark Flood on the day the Zondo report was finally published explaining how State Capture corrupted everything in South Africa from President Zuma on down and basically destroyed wealth, law and infrastructure that might never be regained. That’s the background to Deon Meyer’s latest crime thriller. Not so much about Zuma and all that – but simply how the corruption filtered down to everything and everywhere. Luckily there remain some honest, somewhat bewildered cops who want to do the right thing, even if they are getting shafted from every direction.
Perhaps the biggest mystery in this tight, sharply observed cop procedural drama is why it’s call The Dark Flood? Maybe its more about the anger that Benny Griessel feels when he and his partner Vaughn Cupido are demoted and banished from the Hawks (elite cops division in Cape Town) over something that clearly wasn’t their fault. They find themselves banished to Stellenbosch, the University Town famed for it’s whitewashed buildings and lively café scene. Doesn’t seem to be much of a demotion but they are immediately thrust into a disappearing student case that doesn’t appear to be very important at first but they have to show willing.
The alternate storyline concerns an ambitious, but broke estate agent given a rare opportunity to get out a financial hole by the richest crook in town who secretly wants to sell a R100 million vineyard before the taxman can take it from him. She has to fight off creditors and the rich guy who wants to bed her.
Meyer keeps the ball up in the air relentlessly with a fast pacy plot and excellent characterisation and if you have never read a Benny Griessel novel before, it’s well worth going back to the beginning of the series sharing his trials and tribulations as he solves heinous crimes and fights his battle with the bottle. The Dark Flood brings the Cape vividly to life with wit and hot samousas.
© Sam Hawksmoor - May 1st 2022
Author of the crime novel ‘We Feel Your Pain – So you don’t have to’.