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Book Bites: 26 July 2015

After the CrashAfter the Crash
Michel Bussi (Orion)
****
Book thrill
Just before midnight, two days before Christmas, a plane crash in the French Alps leaves one survivor, a baby girl less than three months old. Two distraught families come forward to claim her as their grandchild. 18 years later, just before midnight, a private detective sits at his desk writing down the last pages of his life’s work before killing himself. After the Crash is tightly written, absorbing and an absolute page turner. Just when you think you have it all figured out, it veers off in a completely different direction.
- Nicola van Rooyen @nicolavanrooye1

The Children from Exile and Other StoriesThe Children From Exile and Other Stories
Mzuvukile Maqetuka (CreateSpace)
***
Book buff
Maqetuka rushes these stories, which first spark a lot of interest but ultimately disappoint. In the title story, the characters live in a fictitious country, which masks what could have been a great South African post-liberation tale. In “Oom Asval and his Donkey Cart”, Maqetuka presents rural life in a novel way: from the perspective of grumpy old men waiting impatiently for death to come. But it’s difficult to connect with them: they’re more like crash test dummies than real people. Try again.
- Kgebetli Moele

EndangeredEndangered
CJ Box (Head of Zeus)
***
Book thrill
CJ Box’s latest Joe Pickett novel starts off with no-nonsense game ranger Joe out attending to a slaughtered flock of endangered sage grouse. He gets a call: a young woman has been found in a ditch, beaten to within an inch of her life. She bears a striking resemblance to his adopted daughter, April, who earlier ran off with a rising rodeo star. As Joe and his wife Marybeth make their way to the hospital, Joe knows it’s April – and he knows who’s responsible. Standard CJ Box.
- Jan Bornman @jwbornman19

The GracekeepersThe Gracekeepers
Kirsty Logan (Harvill Secker Vintage)
****
Book fiend
Set in a world that is almost entirely sea, this is a story about two young girls, North, a dampling, and Callanish, a landlocker. Their lives become forever intertwined when the Circus Excalibur, where North performs with her bear, docks on Callanish’s island. Logan’s debut swells with each salt-crusted depiction; her imagination is a cool breeze against weathered cheeks. Charms to the last syllable.
- Annetjie van Wynegaard @Annetjievw

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