Blog Tour Review: Dying to Live by Michael Stanley

Blurb: The body of a Bushman is discovered near the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, and the death is written off as an  accident. But all is not as it seems. An autopsy reveals that although he’s clearly very old, his internal organs are  puzzlingly young. What’s more, an old bullet is lodged in one of his muscles … but where is the entry wound?

When the body is stolen from the morgue and a local witch doctor is reported missing, Detective ‘Kubu’ Bengu gets involved. As Kubu and his brilliant young colleague, Detective Samantha Khama, follow the twisting trail  through a confusion of rhino-horn smugglers, foreign gangsters and drugs manufacturers, the wider and more  dangerous the case becomes…  A fresh, new slice of ‘Sunshine Noir’, Dying to Live is a classic tale of greed,  corruption and ruthless thuggery, set in one of the world’s most beautiful landscapes, and featuring one of crime fiction’s most endearing and humane detectives.

Review: Despite this being book 6 in the series it is the first of the Detective Kubu books I have read. I was a little concerned that this would cause some problems because as readers know sometimes books cannot be read out of order due to character development. I am pleased to say, however, that while it may have been better to start with book 1 I don’t feel I missed out on much starting where I did. The main characters are written in such a way that you get a strong sense of what kind of people they are quite early on which for me is important.

I did start off a little unsure about this story, it wasn’t flowing as I expected but then, as it progressed I realised that it was simply that this is not a fast paced story, it’s a more steadily paced one and reminds me a bit of Inspector Morse, and I loved Inspector Morse.

This is a story that has numerous threads and you start off wondering what things mean and how are they relevant and then as the book progresses you get drawn into the weaving of the threads into the bigger picture with new threads appearing along the way. This is all done so skillfully that I was half way through the book before I realised and that is a very rare experience for me.  If you want something a little different from your crime fiction you won’t go far wrong with this book, serious issues in an exotic and colourful country investigated by a detective who you’ll like almost instantly.  What more do you need?
Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Both were  born in South Africa and have worked in academia and business. On a flying trip to  Botswana, they watched a pack of hyenas hunt, kill, and devour a wildebeest, eating both flesh and bones. That gave them the premise for their first mystery, A  Carrion Death, which introduced Detective ‘Kubu’ Bengu of the Botswana Criminal  Investigation Department. It was a finalist for five awards, including the CWA Debut Dagger. The series has been critically acclaimed, and their third book, Death of the Mantis, won the Barry Award and was a finalist for an Edgar award. Deadly Harvest was a finalist for an International Thriller Writers’ award, and book 5, A Death in the Family, was an international bestseller.

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