The CWA International Dagger Shortlist 2015

Posted: May 17, 2015 in Book Awards, review, Scandinavia, South Africa, Sweden, Uncategorized

Falling Freely, As If In A Dream by Leif GW Persson (tr Paul Norlen) – published by Transworld.
Camille by Pierre Lemaitre (tr Frank Wynne) – published by Quercus.
Cobra** by Deon Meyer (tr K.L Seegers) – published by Hodder & Stoughton.
Arab Jazz by Karim Miské (tr Sam Gordon) – published by MacLehose Press.
The Invisible Guardian by Dolores Redondo (tr Isabelle Kaufeler) – published by HarperCollins.
Into a Raging Blaze by Andreas Norman (tr Ian Giles) – published by Quercus. 

I have read two books from this shortlist. The link above is to my review of the last book in Leif G.W.Persson’s trilogy about the assassination of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme. I sometimes wonder if I am the only person in the world to have read the complete three volume “story of a crime”, and the only person to have enjoyed it? I needed the exercise, both mental and physical, involved in tackling these hefty books.

I have extracted below my comments about Cobra made in a review of my summer reading last September 13. I do have Camille by Pierre LeMaitre translator Frank Wynne ready to read after my current door stop read, but I probably won’t read the others unless one of them wins. 

Cobra** by Deon Meyer translated from the Afrikaans by K.L.Seegers is a fast moving thriller set in Cape Town. Benny Griessel is called to a bloodbath when trained bodyguards have been executed at a luxury guesthouse by a professional killer, or killers, leaving behind distinctive shell casings marked with a cobra. A mysterious Briton Paul Morris, a man seemingly with no past, is missing presumed kidnapped.

Meanwhile charming young pickpocket Tyrone Kleinbooi is plying his trade in order to help pay for his sister Nadia’s university fees. But when he is picked up by security guards for stealing a beautiful foreigner’s purse, a figure intervenes killing the guards but allowing Tyrone to escape leaving behind his mobile phone.

Tyrone still has the disk wanted by the killers, and when Paul Morris is identified a race develops to save him and Nadia who has been seized by the Cobra killers. Yes it is all very complicated, and exciting. Although Cobra is marketed as a Benny Griessel novel, my favourite police person in the novel is:

Captain Mbali Kaleni was the only woman in the DPCI’s Violent Crimes Team. For six long months now. She was short and very fat. She was never to be seen without her SAPS identity card on a ribbon around her neck, and her service pistol on her plump hip. When she left her office, there was a huge handbag of shiny black leather over her shoulder.

She is my favourite character because doesn’t fit the stereotype of women cops in crime fiction, and above all she is honest.

‘State security eavesdropping on us, taking over a criminal case. Just like in apartheid times. We are destroying our democracy, and I will not stand by and let it happen. And it will, if we let it. I owe it to my parents’ struggle, and I owe it to my country.’

Another fine book that should be a contender for the International Dagger. 

  1. Jose Ignacio says:

    Norman I’ve Into a Raging Blaze on my TBR shelf and I’m looking forward to reading Arab Jazz and Camille during a next trip to Paris in the coming weeks. Next I need to read Cobra. For the time being I’m less interested in reading the book by my fellow Spaniard from the information I have. Not my coup of tea.

  2. Norman Price says:

    Jose Ignacio, I have just started reading Camille, and am very impressed, although the descriptions of the violence are not my scene. i wonder if anyone at Crime Fest asked LeMaitre why he chose to make his detective a diminutive 4’11”.
    I would be most interested in what you think of Into a Raging Blaze, although the mention that it anticipated “the Snowden revelations” puts me off. The fact that Edward Snowden, a fighter for an “open free society” ended up in Putin’s Russia is bizarre. I know he wants to go to Switzerland.

  3. Kathy D. says:

    Snowden was trying to go to South America. His passport was taken away in Moscow and he waited in an international zone to find out his status. He ended up staying in Russia because he has no passport and was afraid his plane would be intercepted on his way to Latin America,
    particularly on a refueling stop. A plane carrying Pres. Morales of Bolivia had been stopped in Vienna, allegedly to look for Snowden. So Snowden took precautions.

    He has criticized Putin, too, for violating freedom of speech, etc. Even while living in Russia, he still did that.

    He also wanted to go to Germany, where Laura Poitras is; she made the documentary about him which won the Oscars. Or he wanted to go to Brazil, where Glenn Greenwald lives. But again, without a passport he can’t travel.

    I may read Cobra for the reason you mention.

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