Welcome to my review for Facets of Death by Michael Stanley. My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for my spot on the blog tour. Thanks also to Orenda Books for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. Facets of death is available in paperback and ebook format. It is a prequel to the award-winning Detective Kubu series. This series is on my radar, so when the opportunity to review came up, I was very pleased to volunteer. Especially as I’m meeting Kubu at the start of his career.
Review for Facets of Death
I love this Botswanan diamond heist thriller! The style of writing is very original and the plot really draws the reader in. The story is told linearly which is quite refreshing as so many thrillers are now written from multiple time points and points of view. The chapters are short, essentially each reflects a scene in the story, and grouped by day. The novel basically covers around 10 days and is told broadly in ‘real-time’. I very much enjoyed the simplicity of this because it means the characters and plot have to be strong enough to hold the reader’s attention. This they definitely do!
Detective David ‘Kubu’ Bengu is fast-tracked into CID straight from university. He arrives for his first day at work and is met with mistrust from his colleagues as he didn’t have to go through the stage of being a beat policeman. Nevertheless, he dives straight in with a case of missing suitcases. He barely has time to establish the facts before a significant diamond heist takes place leaving 3 dead and 100,000 carats of uncut stones missing. It’s interesting to see Kubu learn how to detect whilst on the job. The heist itself is fascinatingly intriguing and there are some great plot twists which leave the reader with even more questions. This essentially draws the reader in even further as the story develops. The story telling is compelling and so enjoyable! There is use of local dialect which adds authenticity and although the meaning is clear from the context there is a little glossary and map included.
I also enjoy the aspect of the setting. Specifically, the geographical description of Botswana and the culture which is a blend of western development and traditional beliefs. This felt much more authentic than the southern Africa of the media which is typified by political instability and abject poverty. Overall I found this a hugely enjoyable novel and am keen to read the others in the series and follow the development of Kubu as a detective.
Facets of Death Cover Blurb
A dark and sophisticated thriller set in the heart of Botswana, introducing Michael Stanley’s beloved Detective Kubu Recruited straight from university to Botswana’s CID, David ‘Kubu’ Bengu has raised his colleagues’ suspicions with his meteoric rise within the department, and he has a lot to prove.
When the richest diamond mine in the world is robbed of 100,000 carats worth of gems, and the thieves are found, executed, Kubu leaps at the chance to prove himself. First he must find the diamonds – and it seems that a witch doctor and his son have a part to play.
Does this young detective have the skill and integrity to engineer an international trap? Or could it cost him everything?
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. Stanley was an educational psychologist, specialising in the application of computers to teaching and learning, and is a pilot. Michael specialised in image processing and remote sensing and taught at the University of the Witwatersrand.
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 David ‘Kubu’ Bengu of the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department. It was a finalist for five awards, including the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger. The series has been critically acclaimed, and their third book, Death of the Mantis, won the Barry Award for Best Paperback Original mystery and was shortlisted for an Edgar award. Deadly Harvest was shortlisted for an International Thriller Writers award. They have also written a thriller, Dead of Night, following the investigative journalist, Crystal Nguyen, who gets caught up in the war against rhino poaching and rhino-horn smuggling.