Review of Dead Of Night by Michael Stanley

Published by Orenda Books in 2018    ISBN: 978-1912374-26-0 (PB)

 With this absorbing thriller the writing duo Michael Stanley digs deep into the corrupt, dangerous and seedy world of illegal rhino-horn smuggling and trafficking. Most of the action unfolds in South Africa punctuated by a brief foray to Vietnam and Switzerland.  Crystal  (Crys) Nguyen, a freelance journalist of Vietnamese descent from Minnesota arrives in the bush on an intrepid fact-gathering assignment commissioned by National Geographic that includes an urgent quest for her friend Michael who has dropped off the radar whilst investigating rhino poaching gangs.  Crys bases herself at a family run two thousand hectares Nature Reserve and Rhino Conservation Centre located west of Kruger National Park. Through her eyes, the reader experiences the stunning  wildlife, unique birds, colourful flora and vegetation and the magical African night sky.  But Crys is not there to savour the atmosphere, however beguiling, but to get a story and for that she must do some sly poking around. Her opportunity comes quicker than she imagined when the Reserve’s team leader succumbs to malaria and she reluctantly finds herself pitched into hosting the guests.   Strange things begin to happen. The second- in -command excuses himself on a pretext and disappears, ostensibly, to attend a traditional burial; there’s a plane crash at dead of night; the second- in- command suddenly re-appears mumbling about an injured elephant and persuades Crys to accompany him to the crash site where they discover one person dead, but not as a result of the crash, an apparently bleeding survivor who has legged it into the bush and something else of great value.   Crys is a warrior woman, feisty and independent minded and her interaction with Colonel Mabula, the no- nonsense and shrewd Chief Superintendent at Giyani Police Station makes for some robust scenes. He is well drawn and the reader can visualize him very clearly and both he and Crys provide depth and interest to the unusual, well-plotted story.  The author puts Crys through some rough and testing times but she’s not just a pretty face but also a biathlon champion and this stands her in good stead.     This is a multi-layered, well-researched novel, thought provoking with lots of spins, although sad in some ways as conservationists battle, often unsuccessfully, against greedy, cruel people to prevent the extinction of an endangered species.  It’s an enthralling, immersive read that doesn’t disappoint.

 Reviewer: Serena Fairfax

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dead Of Night by Michael Stanley

Published by Orenda Books in 2018

ISBN: 978-1912374-26-0 (PB)

 

With this absorbing thriller the writing duo Michael Stanley digs deep into the corrupt, dangerous and seedy world of illegal rhino-horn smuggling and trafficking. Most of the action unfolds in South Africa punctuated by a brief foray to Vietnam and Switzerland.

 

Crystal  (Crys) Nguyen, a freelance journalist of Vietnamese descent from Minnesota arrives in the bush on an intrepid fact-gathering assignment commissioned by National Geographicthat includes an urgent quest for her friend Michael who has dropped off the radar whilst investigating rhino poaching gangs.

 

Crys bases herself at a family run two thousand hectares nature reserve and rhino conservation centre located west of Kruger National Park. Through her eyes, the reader experiences the stunning and magical wildlife, unique birds, colourful flora and vegetation and the brilliant African night sky.  But Crys is not there to savour the atmosphere, however beguiling, but to get a story and for that she must do some sly poking around. Her opportunity comes quicker than she imagined when the reserve’s team leader succumbs to malaria and she reluctantly finds herself pitched into hosting the guests.

 

Strange things begin to happen. The second in command excuses himself on a pretext and disappears, ostensibly, to attend a traditional burial; there’s a plane crash at dead of night; the second in command suddenly re-appears mumbling about an injured elephant and persuades Crys to accompany him to the crash site where they discover one person dead, but not as a result of the crash, an apparently bleeding survivor who has legged it into the bush and something else of great value.

 

Crys is a warrior woman, feisty and independent minded and her interaction with Colonel Mabula, the no- nonsense and shrewd Chief Superintendent at Giyani Police Station makes for some robust scenes. He is well drawn and the reader can visualize him very clearly and both he and Crys provide depth and interest to the unusual, well-plotted story.  The author puts Crys through some rough and testing times but she’s not just a pretty face but also a biathlon champion and this stands her in good stead.

 

This is a multi-layered, well-researched novel, thought provoking with lots of spins, although sad in some ways as conservationists battle, often unsuccessfully, against greedy, cruel people to prevent the extinction of an endangered species. It’s an enthralling immersive read that won’t disappoint.

 

 

Reviewer: Serena Fairfax

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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