Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Deadly Harvest by Michael Stanley - BLOG TOUR REVIEW

I am delighted to be today's stop on the blog tour for Deadly Harvest by Michael Stanley, which was published by Orenda Books on 15 May 2016. Read on for my review.

Deadly Harvest
By Michael Stanley
Published by Orenda Books (15 May 2016)
ISBN: 978-1910633441

Publisher's description
A young girl goes missing after getting into a car with a mysterious man. Soon after, a second girl disappears, and her devastated father, Witness, sets out to seek revenge. As the trail goes cold, Samantha Khama - new recruit to the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department - suspects that the girl was killed for muti; traditional African medicine. She enlists opera-loving wine connoisseur Assistant Superintendent David 'Kubu' Benga to help her dig into the past. But as they begin to find a pattern, Kubu and Samantha suddenly find they are in a race against time...

My verdict
Deadly Harvest is a brilliant crime novel set in a sunny climate. I absolutely loved its exotic setting - not only did the book interest and entertain me but I also learnt so much from it. Botswana truly comes alive on the pages, with its aromas, sights and sounds, as well as political background, providing a fascinating culture to explore further.

The plot concentrates on witch doctors and the use of human remains in traditional African medicines. This is based on a true story, when a young girl went missing in 1994. If you've been following some recent newspaper stories, you'll realise that hunters selling body parts to witch doctors is still very much an ongoing problem. The underlying tragic and horrific truth really brings the book to life. There's also mention of AIDS and HIV, raising often forgotten health issues affecting Africa today.

The book is beautifully written and gripping from the first page until the last, with a few surprises along the way. Who is kidnapping young girls by enticing them into their car? Why has no one seen these girls again? This is a modern mystery, yet feels timeless, as the detectives search for clues.

I loved Detective Kubu and his stable family setting, which provided some lighter moments amidst all the darkness, corruption and deception. His character proves that detectives don't always have to be driven by inner turmoil, as seen so often in crime fiction. He was a complete contrast to Samantha Khama, the new female detective who is far more hot headed and ready to dive in without thinking first. I thought there would be a more explosive clash of personalities, but both characters managed to develop a professional relationship that worked for them.

Deadly Harvest has dark and sinister undertones because of the subject matter. But I loved every word and didn't want it to end. This was my first Detective Kubu book, but certainly not my last. I have already added this series to the list of books that I'll read again and again and recommend to everyone I know. I'm so excited that I don't have to wait TOO long before I can read the next Detective Kubu book!

I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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