“man’s inhumanity to man”
- Book: Devil’s Peak
- Location: Cape Town
- Author: Deon Meyer
Devil’s Peak, is the first Deon Meyer book that I have come across, but is his fourth published novel.
This is not the book for you, if you have a total aversion to descriptive scenes of moderate violence, bad language and explicit sexual encounters. However, if you give this book the chance, it becomes clear that everything is set in complete context to the storyline, with the scenes only adding to the overall richness of the dialogue and with none of the content being gratuitous in nature.
There are three separate strands to this complex story, with two of them obviously intertwined, right from the start. The third, seemingly unrelated element, a beautiful Afrikaans woman, who is confessing her part in events to a priest, throughout the course of the book, turns out to be the most pivotal character in the entire plot, although this doesn’t become apparent until well into the story.
I wasn’t quite sure just how successful the format for the book would be, as the story is constantly jumping from one character to another, but it worked surprisingly well and kept the tension going right to the end, with the ending itself being well thought out and a pleasant surprise.
An Afrikaans prostitute, an Afrikaans alcoholic policeman and a black South African avenging angel, make unlikely bed-fellows, but we discover that although ‘bush justice’ can be viewed in may ways; despite culture, history and language differences, when it comes to children, they all feel the same way.
Complex characters are well thought out and portrayed, with a hard-hitting storyline, encompassing police corruption, drug importation on a grand scale, and gang related violence and brutality.
Many may think, that because of the author’s nationality, this may be a novel illustrating the still complex and volatile situation, in an apartheid free South Africa. However, to me, although this may well be the case, the issues laid bare, could apply to any modern, multi-cultural city, anywhere in the civilized world.
Personally I rated this book very highly, for both it’s fast moving, graphic and intricate plotting; and it’s flawed yet absorbing characters, with their personalities laid graphically bare, so I felt that I was right there inside their heads thinking the same thoughts and feeling the same feelings.
An accomplished piece of writing, that made me keep wanting more, from an author whose work I shall continue to seek out in the future.
A portrait of human nature at it’s most truthful, perfectly illustrating “man’s inhumanity to man”.