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Book bites: 30 July 2017

Dying to LiveDying to Live
Michael Stanley (Orenda Books)
****
Book mystery
When a witchdoctor goes missing and a body is discovered in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, detectives David “Kubu” Bengu and Samantha Khama are called in to solve another head-scratcher of a case. While the police try to piece it all together, a group of malefactors continue their quest for a plant that will increase one’s longevity. Themes of rhino-horn smuggling, biopiracy, corruption and greed permeate Michael Stanley’s sixth crime novel, while the beautiful setting of Botswana captures the imagination. Kubu is an endearing protagonist both as a detective and a dad, devoted to his family. This is a crime story with a generous dose of tenderness.
- Anna Stroud @annawriter_

A Piece of the WorldA Piece of the World
Christina Baker Kline (HarperCollins)
****
Book buff
An historical fictionalised account about the life of Christina Olson, the woman in Andrew Wyeth’s famous 1948 painting Christina’s World. Olson, who lived in the Maine farmhouse in the painting, suffered from a debilitating neuromuscular disease and the book describes her determination to live life as full as possible despite this. Olson’s life straddled two world wars and one ancestor who was a judge in the Salem witch trials. Through the Wyeth painting, now in the Museum of Modern Art, she transcended the piece of New England where she felt trapped. An enjoyable read. – Vuyo Mzini @vuyomzini

Spire Spire
Fiona Snyckers (Clockwork Books)
***
Book thrill
In remote Antarctica, the South Pole International Research Establishment houses a frozen box of viruses. Dr Candice Burchell, surgeon and virologist, is called to the infirmary after an employee falls fatally ill. The centre is ravaged by an outbreak of diseases that haven’t been dealt with since the Middle Ages. More people turn up dead. Dr Burchell is about to be left all alone – or is she? Snyckers’ novel drops a stone into the pit of your stomach. – Kelly Ansara @QueenKelso

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