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Trackers    by Deon Meyer order for
by Deon Meyer
Order:  USA  Can
Random House, 2011 (2011)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Deon Meyer consistently delivers an edge-of-your-seat thriller, along with very flawed, very real, ultimately sympathetic characters. And you never know which old friends you'll encounter in a new Meyer novel.

There are several in the plot seams that he mines throughout Trackers - bodyguard Lemmer, who struggles with anger management, and his lover Emma le Roux, whom he protected in Blood Safari; former cop Mat Joubert who appeared in Dead Before Dying, Devil's Peak and last year's Thirteen Hours; and Janina Mentz who heads the Presidential Intelligence Agency (PIA) and played her part in the series debut, Heart of the Hunter.

These individuals' stories interweave throughout Trackers. In addition we meet Milla Strachan, a verbally abused housewife and mother. Milla flees her grey situation to find her life anew - and ends up finding unexpected romance and peril after she accepts a research position with Janina's group. The PIA is tracking a shipment of diamonds from Zimbabwe - to buy weapons for a Muslim attack on Cape Town? Janina sees the situation as an opportunity for political advantage.

Violating his First Law: Don't get involved to please Emma, Lemmer is conned by a local farmer, Diederik Brand, into helping smuggle two rare black rhinos into South Africa from Zimbabwe. After he's hijacked en route - along with his driver and the tough, young veterinarian/tracker, Flea van Jaarsveld, who accompanied the animals - and learns that he transported more than rhinos, Lemmer tracks the individual who has fled with the goods, along with a gun that would implicate him in a killing.

Ex-cop Mat Joubert starts his new job at Jack Fischer's PI firm with a missing persons case. Tanya Flint hires them to find her husband Danie who worked for a bus company and disappeared suddenly. But the young couple had little cash, so how did he afford the Porsche? And why is there a break-in at Tanya's business? Mat performs his usual thorough investigation and gets to the bottom of it, but will his first case be his last for Jack Fischer and Associates?

Finally there's the mysterious Lukas Becker, ex-military and with experience in various archaeological expeditions and with Blackwater in Iraq. Becker tracks - and systematically slaughters - villains of the piece to get back money stolen from him, and seems unstoppable. After Lukas meets Milla, their stories converge and they are both tracked by different groups when Milla decides 'to play the cards that life dealt her in a reasoned way.'

As always I appreciated the author's social commentary, for example his mention of Ivory tower whingers who sit around 'in their huge, luxurious houses behind high walls and alarm systems, in front of their Hi-Def flat screen TVs, with a Merceded ML, two quad bikes, a Harley, and a speedboat squeezed into their triple garages, and they bitch about how bad things are in this country ...'

All of the subplots are compelling and Meyer melds them together in a brilliant resolution that not everyone will walk away from. If you haven't read Deon Meyer yet, you're missing one of the best thriller writers worldwide.

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