Like Clockwork – Margie Orford.

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It’s been sometime since I’ve posted here.  Not for lack of reading books or watching films though.  I have my excuses, some valid and some not so, but it’s the excuses that I really shouldn’t let get in the way of my writing and blogging that are the ones holding me back.  So, not to bore any more.

For quite a while I have been wanting to read Margie Orford’s Clare Hart thriller series, which I eventually got around to doing so.  Well, the first one at least, Like Clockwork.  Set in Cape Town, the protagonist is police profiler Clare Hart.  It’s a grim murder novel, that delves into the criminal underworld of Cape Town, and human trafficking/prostitution and a serial killer.  In such crime/murder novels, for the most part, the detectives/investigators (or police profiler as in the case of Ms Hart) always have more than their fair share of personal problems, and Clare Hart is no exception.  I am always on the look out for books set in South Africa, which is why I had wanted to read the first of her books.  It wasn’t a bad offering.  It wasn’t a great offering either.  I’ve read better thrillers.  When reading such thrillers, I expect such stories to be on the realistic side, yes, harsh and sometimes brutal, as certainly crime in South Africa can be, but it’s got to be realistic yet I found the ending somewhat unbelievable, and a bit of an anti climax and one always feels a little let down when a book ends that way.  Nevertheless, it’s not a book that I’ve written off at all, and it had it’s merits, particularly in that it portrays the very grim reality of the criminal underbelly quite well.  Not a bad read.  I’ve got the second book in the series, so I will read it, and see if it does better than the first.



South Africa vs Australia

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No, I am not talking about cricket or rugby.  Having just posted a blog about a Deon Meyer crime novel, I realize I have mostly done posts on books, so I am not really doing the Film part any justice seeing as I have called this blog The South African Book and Film Blog………

The Killing Field

Last month I watched two crime movies, back to back.  The first was an Aussie movie The Killing Field, starring Rebecca Gibney and Peter O’Brien.  I last watched the pair, as a young married couple, Sam and Emma, in the tv series The Flying Doctors.   So it was interesting to see them as two jaded detectives in this movie. The film is about the disappearance of a young girl, in a small town, which then then leads to the discovery of the bodies of five women buried in shallow graves.  It was an enjoyable enough crime film, not a huge amount of action, so for those who like special effects and a rush of adrenaline, this might prove a bit boring for some.

The next movie was Zulu starring Orlando Bloom and Forest Whitaker, and if you want to a watch an action packed movie, South Africa wins hands down.  Three South African Cops, two whites and a Zulu, investigate drug related murders.  Each of the cops has his own personal burdens to deal with, which certainly doesn’t make their jobs any easier, in a country that is known for it’s high crime rate and violent criminals.  Bloom and Whitaker’s South African accents aren’t too bad, and they are great in their roles.  There is one scene particularly that is not for the feint hearted at all.  It is a gory film, but it’s not just about that, it has a pretty good story line as well.  A bit over the top probably, but still a good watch.


Back down under, a couple of weeks ago, I watched another Aussie movie, also a crime flick, Mystery Road.


I felt it had more depth than The Killing Field.  Set in the outback, an Aboriginal detective investigates the murder of a young Aboriginal girl.  As always, these cops seem to have their burdens to deal with, but then again, cops haven’t got the easiest of jobs, and they see the worst humanity has to offer. Aaron Pedersen plays his role as a brooding policeman well, returning to his home town and is caught between a rock and a hard place, when he joins the town’s all white police force and often condescending attitude towards him and then has to deal with his aboriginal community who are distrusting of him as a policeman.  It’s certainly got a western feel to it, about those on the margins of mainstream society.

Thirteen Hours

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A roller coaster of a ride, this story is set mostly on the streets of Cape Town, about a young woman’s fight to stay alive, while being hunted by brutal thugs.  I think it’s a great book, capturing the real essence of the racial melting pot of South Africa.   Let’s face it, South Africa is known for it’s high crime rate, and it’s violent criminals and this is Deon Meyer’s fodder.  It’s gritty reading, but it’s good.  Trackers was the first Meyer book I read, and Thirteen Hours is the second.  I enjoyed Trackers, but Thirteen Hours was even better.  I will certainly be reading  his other books.

I think I over enthusiastically set myself the goal, on GoodReads of reading 52 books this year.  A book a week.  Which means I’ve already got catching up to do.  Somehow, I don’t quite think so!