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Dying To Live

Published Date: 23rd January 2017

Available in

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EBook
978-1-910633-77-9
£5.99
15 July 2017
Paperback
978-1-910633-76-2
£8.99
15 July 2017

Description

When the body of a Bushman is discovered near the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, the death is written off as an accident. But all is not as it seems. An autopsy reveals that, although he’s clearly very old, his internal organs are puzzlingly young. What’s more, an old bullet is lodged in one of his muscles … but where is the entry wound?
When the body is stolen from the morgue and a local witch doctor is reported missing, Detective ‘Kubu’ Bengu gets involved. But did the witch doctor take the body to use as part of a ritual? Or was it the American anthropologist who’d befriended the old Bushman?
As Kubu and his brilliant young colleague, Detective Samantha Khama, follow the twisting trail through a confusion of rhino-horn smugglers, foreign gangsters and drugs manufacturers, the wider and more dangerous the case seems to grow.
A fresh, new slice of ‘Sunshine Noir’, Dying to Live is a classic tale of greed, corruption and ruthless thuggery, set in one of the world’s most beautiful landscapes, and featuring one of crime fiction’s most endearing and humane heroes.

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‘A wonderful, original voice – McCall Smith with a dark edge and even darker underbelly’ Peter James

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‘Under the African sun, Michael Stanley’s Detective Kubu investigates crimes as dark as the darkest of Nordic Noir. Call it Sunshine Noir, if you will – a must read’ Yrsa Sigurðardóttir

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‘Detective David “Kubu” Bengu is a wonderful creation, complex and beguiling. The exotic smells and sounds of Botswana fill the pages as well as the changes and struggles of a country brimming with modern technology yet fiercely clinging to old traditions. Compelling and deceptively written …’ New York Journal of Books

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‘There is a lot of muti to chew – literally, as you will discover – but the plot, woven into the harsh desert backdrop, is as unrelenting and dangerous as the arena in which the investigation twists it’s way.’ The Cape Town Argus

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‘Clues are hard to come by, but Kubu is interested to learn that the dead man, identified by acquaintances as Heiseb, recently met with anthropologist Christopher Collins, a researcher from the University of Minnesota. Collins, who has gone missing, was studying the Bushmen’s oral traditions, which included a mode of storytelling in which the narrator pretends to have been present at events that predated his birth. Stanley (the pseudonym of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip) keeps the intriguing plot twists coming.’ Publisher’s Weekly

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Dying to Live is a skilfully plotted story of greed and its consequences; making the case for Detective Kubu absorbing, like the Botswana backdrop. I wonder if McCall Smith’s Mma Ramotswe not already been given the small-screen treatment, fellow Botswanan Detective Kubu would surely be a contender for a series of his own’ Shots Mag

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Michael Stanley were interviewed on BBC Radio Manchester

Author

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 specialises in image processing and remote sensing, and teaches at the University of the Witwatersrand. The series has been critically acclaimed, and their third book, Death of the Mantis, won the Barry Award and was a finalist for an Edgar award. Deadly Harvest was a finalist for an International Thriller Writers’ award.

Online Reviews

‘Jeff does not give away the plot of this sixth crime novel to feature the humble and endearing Detective Kubu, but suffice it to say that he could not put the book down. He loved the book so much that he requested an interview with at least one of its authors. Take a listen as he takes a behind the scenes look at what it takes to write a novel of this nature. It made for a great interview.’ Michael Stanley took part in an interview with Jeff Moloi on Algoa FM

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‘The stories always contain things that I’ve never read about and things that I wouldn’t have even thought about and I love that about them. They are also incredibly well written and thought out. There are twists and turns which don’t always lead to where you are expecting and will keep you guessing. As usual Botswana is a character in itself and you can feel its essence throughout the book. Though Dying To Live is the sixth book in the series, reading this as a stand alone is very easily possible. I would definitely recommend reading the whole series though just because of how good it is.’ Life of a Nerdish Mum

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‘Murders, smuggling, witchcraft, this story has it all. There are new mysteries on every corner and I don’t wanna reveal more. If you want to try something new, Sunshine noir is the real thing. Detective Kubu’s adventures are totally recommended!’ Licence 2 Read

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‘Interesting and easy to follow with characters I warmed to straight away … The book is disturbing at times not only because of muti but the use of animal parts such as rhino horn or other animal parts leading to certain species becoming extinct. There’s a lot of wit and warmth throughout the narrative and the dynamics of the working relationship between the two detectives is on the whole good.’ Mrs Bloggs Books

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Dying To Live is a fantastic novel, which is, of course, what we have come to expect from a book published by Orenda Books. Kubu is a really endearing character and there are times in this novel where I wanted to give him a big hug. These novels entice the reader with a beautifully written narrative and an engaging plot. I look forward to reading the next Michael Stanley collaboration.’ Segnalibro

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Dying to Live is a brilliantly written mystery, with an exotic location that I felt I got to know things to the descriptive writing. The characters are colourful and described well enough that the book works as a stand alone even though it is part way into the series. The mystery is well-assembled with just enough twists and turns to keep the story entertaining, all adding together to make an enjoyable read.’

 Books and Beyond Reviews

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‘I found the plot to be captivating and particularly unique. The stories surrounding the witch doctors fascinated me and the storyline was extremely twisty, always taking surprising turns. Another thing that played a big part in my enjoyment of the book was the fantastically immersive and vibrant setting. Combined with the vivid descriptions, I felt that I was drawn right into the book and transported. I almost forgot where I really was! It was dark but twisty and intriguing and I’ll be going back to read the others in the series.’

Misti Moo Book Review

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‘This is a story that has numerous threads and you start off wondering what things mean and how are they relevant and then as the book progresses you get drawn into the weaving of the threads into the bigger picture with new threads appearing along the way. This is all done so skillfully that I was half way through the book before I realised and that is a very rare experience for me.  If you want something a little different from your crime fiction you won’t go far wrong with this book, serious issues in an exotic and colourful country investigated by a detective who you’ll like almost instantly.  What more do you need?’

Book Lover Worm Blog

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‘The story deals not only with the investigation but also takes the reader into Detective Kubu’s private life and some dramatic family issues he has to deal with.  It was also a rare treat to glimpse Botswana’s culture and scenery which acted as a great backdrop to the work of this crime solving team. Right from the first page I was completely hooked and would thoroughly recommend.’Jo Lambert Writer

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‘I have to say I was completely abducted with this book, maybe the author put a spell on it to be fascinated with the multiple twists and interesting characters of the book, it’s a non-stoppable read! This is not just an interesting case to read, it make you think what’s the really value of life, is it worth paying an extensive amount of money to try to live longer? Or would you be ready to kill to know the secret of life? This has been an amazing read; interesting, different and original. I recommend it you read it right now, Michael Stanely has won a new fan!’ Varietats

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‘This is a fascinating yet quite a dark novel – there’s talk of witch doctors, potions and the fact that their practices are not restricted to Botswana or indeed the neighbouring countries … There’s a real sense that the authors have as much involvement with their stories as they can. They research, write, immerse themselves in the country they love and it shows. Shake that Kalahari Dust off the pages and step inside the world of Kubu.The Book Trail

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‘Whilst the storyline features murder, the reasons why it occurred are different and with the added superstition made a fascinating read. I did get a little confused at times, there are a lot of people but there was a reminder at the start of who everybody was along with a guide on pronunciation. A welcome return to the land of ‘sunshine noir’. Kubu and Samantha are one of my favourite police teams.’ Steph’s Book Blog

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‘Kubu is as thoughtful and endearing a central character as ever, hiding his steely determination and incisive mind behind the guise of a family man and food-lover who rarely misses a meal, no matter what comes up – yearning for that second portion of bobotie or rifling through his office drawers for snacks. My only quibble is that the authors introduce a few too many new characters to grapple with late on in the plot, threatening to confuse what is otherwise another intriguing and involving slice of ‘Sunshine Noir’’. Claire Thinking

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‘Although there were a few cultural references regarding the practice of witch doctors and smuggling, plus local dialect sprinkled throughout the story, they didn’t detract from my enjoyment of reading this wonderfully crafted story of mystery and intrigue. I’m always intrigued when I hear that an author is actually a writing duo as I often wonder how the dynamics work to enable them to work together to seemlessly tell a tale for us readers to savour and enjoy, and after having finished reading Dying to Live I can say that their partnership really works so now I just need to find time to go back to the beginning to read the rest of the series.’

 Shaz’s Book Blog

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‘There are so many twists and turns throughout the whole book which makes the story very enthralling and kept me wanting to read the book in one sitting. All of the characters are very well written and have a depth which is missing from so many books nowadays … Overall I felt this book was a brilliantly entertaining and enthralling read, which kept me guessing right through until the end.’ Black Books Blog

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‘I haven’t actually read any of the preceding books, but I don’t think that impacted my reading experience as this worked fantastically as a solid stand-alone crime novel. From the outset, the premise of the crime is intriguing and hooks you in, as Kubu and Samantha untangle the crime the book is filled with tension, twists and turns, all of which kept me engaged throughout.’ Harry’s Book Club

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Dying to Live is a skilfully plotted story of greed and its consequences; making the case for Detective Kubu absorbing, like the Botswana backdrop. I wonder if McCall Smith’s Mma Ramotswe not already been given the small-screen treatment, fellow Botswanan Detective Kubu would surely be a contender for a series of his own.’ Shot’s Mag

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Dying To Live is yet another enjoyable offering from the very talented writing duo. The series would be great for the television though through the authors writing skills, the reader very much gets transported into Kubu’s world which at times is quite a scary one!’ By The Letter Book Reviews

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‘Dark, draped in local customs, and a setting that envelops you, my third crime-solving fiction outing with Detective Kubu didn’t disappoint … The characterisation was wonderful, and the plot tight and controlled. But, like the other books in this series (and it can be read as a standalone), this book is all about the setting. The culture in the book blankets you with its smells, its characters, its customs, and its life. It transports you, like every good book, into its world. More, please!’ Christina Phillipou

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‘This is the 6th book in the Dectective Kubu series and the very first one that I have read. It is not compulsory to have read them all to enjoy them, but now I am eager to go back and see what I have missed previously … Overall, an enjoyable romp of a mystery, much less dark than other popular such books, in an intriguing setting that will have you searching online for holiday in Botswana. Highly recommended.’ Bookish Lara

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‘What follows is a truly fascinating discussion about the research and writing techniques they use to bring the Detective Kubu series to life.’ Michael Stanley are interviewed about exploring biopiracy and crime fiction.’

 Rachel Amphlett

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Dying to Live fits into the crime genre ‘sunshine noir’, thanks to its dark plots set in a sunny climate. The term ‘sunshine noir’ also describes how this series makes me feel. The stories explore the vile side of human nature, yet somehow still manage to lift my mood. Each time, it’s like coming back to an old friend – slightly older and slightly wiser – with familiar places and familiar characters … I can’t recommend this series highly enough. This is sunshine noir at its best, with plenty of twists, turns and surprises. The next Detective Kubu book can’t come soon enough.’ Off The Shelf Books

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‘This story made me want to know more as it made my head spin with possibilities. Someone definitely wants these secrets to disappear and it becomes a bit of a hide and seek for the dead with more clues and false trails been dug up. It makes for super page turning perfection. This is very much of story of old meets new with a timeless thread that is always constant, one of greed and corruption where money can be made but this story really throws a spanner in the works because it could hold a secret that all the money in the world couldn’t buy.’

 Books From Dusk Till Dawn

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Dying to Live is written well, easy to read and fast paced! The cover also intrigues me it is very different, unique. I would highly recommend this story to you (links below), you will not regret it. I don’t want to give much away as I would rather you buy it and find out for youself, but a brilliant read that will fly by. I can’t wait to read all of Michael’s other stories after reading this one. A well deserved four stars out of five.’

Gemma’s Book Reviews

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‘Kubu is by far one of my favourite characters to read about. I smile when I start these books because he is just such an affable and genuine character …  I don’t want to say anymore because this book is full of mystery and I’d be afraid to give anything away. Its always better to let the reader enjoy the story and untangle the writer’s web of deceit! Gripping, mysterious and full of excellent characters, Dying to Live is another perfect example of Sunshine Noir.’ Bibliophile Book Club

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‘The integrity of all concerned is key. Backhanders are common and the desire for health and wealth, whatever the cost to others, widespread. When Kubu’s daughter, Nono, reacts against her HIV medication and becomes seriously ill even his staunch belief in scientifically proven medication over muti is tested. The pace feels gentle despite the dark events unfolding but reader engagement is retained throughout. This was a complex but enjoyable read; my favourite Kubu adventure thus far.’ Never Imitate

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‘This is a well written mystery which will entertain and intrigue you in equal measures. I’m thrilled that I have discovered Kubo and will endeavour to catch up with the previous books for my pleasure, it certainly didn’t feel necessary to read them prior to this one because it is all explained. It may be a complex subject but certainly an interesting one.’ Ali The Dragon Slayer

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‘I loved this book from the first page. I think it’s the matter of fact writing which I liked. Detective Kubu  and his colleague, Detective Samantha Khama, are great foils for each other. The opening premise of the mysterious body is sure to get your attention. When I started to read the book,  I quickly grasped that it was reminiscent of Alexander McCall Smith’s writing. For any lovers of those African detective stories, the style of writing takes you straight there.’ Books, Life and Everything

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‘The first thing I liked about this book is that it’s classed as ‘Sunshine Noir’ which is so refreshing! Forget your Nordic, Tartan, American and even ‘Tart’ Noir – I have a feeling that ‘Sunshine Noir’ is where the trend will lead. I read my fair share of Nordic Noir where the atmosphere is dark, grim, miserable and cold. DYING TO LIVE is the complete contrast. For starters, the story is set in South of Africa where there is desert for miles, the sun shines hot and witch doctors are as popular as ever.’ The P Turner’s Book Blog

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‘This is the first of this writing duo’s novel’s I’ve read (Michael Stanley actually being the writing team Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip) and is a continuation of their successful series of novels to feature Detective Kubu and his squad. I must confess to having the earlier two novels in the series on my Kindle but not having got around to reading them yet. Based on Dying to Live, I will now certainly make the time. While it is a series, the book can be read as a standalone as I did, and works as a self-contained story.’ The Crime Novel Reader

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Dying to Live is one of those books that can be devoured in one sitting. I must admit it took me by surprise how gripping it was … A brilliant police procedural, a wonderful setting in Botswana – a fantastic introduction to ‘sunshine noir.’ Have Books Will Read

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Dying to Live is a book that has everything I could wish for, intriguing crimes, red herrings, multiple suspects, a fascinating setting and a unique detective in Assistant Superintendent Kubu Bengu … Dying to Live juxtaposes the darker side of humanity, the avarice and corruption with the fears,warmth and love of family life, it never pulls back from exposing what greed can drive people to do yet is somehow still a book imbued with a gentle humour.’ Hair Past A Freckle

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‘I really enjoyed this book. I was sucked in to the surroundings of the bush and the heat and thoroughly enjoyed learning about the culture … The mystery itself was also good. I was intrigued by the Bushman, and enjoyed following Detective Khama’s investigation into the missing witch doctor. I’ll admit when other elements appeared (gangsters especially) I was a little sceptical, but it all made sense eventually!’ The Quiet Geordie

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‘I was completely drawn in to the story and loved the different threads of the investigation and the connections made by Kubu and Detective Samantha Khama.  I couldn’t work out whodunit so was rather surprised by the reveal (always a bonus when you don’t see the twist coming! … Would I recommend this book?  I would.  This is a great series which I will always come back to.  I feel a real warmth towards Kubu and his family, there’s something very reassuring about reading these books.’ Damp Pebbles

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‘Michael Stanley is providing six titles for our shelves. That’s because 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. Michael Stanley take part in naming the books they would add to the secret library as part of the blog tour.’ Café Thinking

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‘It certainly got the mind whirring, as did the constantly winding threads of the story, first leading the reader on a journey of misdirection before weaving their way to an almost blindsiding conclusion. I was intrigued from first page until last. Loved it and I shall be back for more.’ Jen Med’s Book Reviews

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‘This book grabbed me straight away with what is possibly the most unusual and fascinating crime story I have read … I’m normally quite good at guessing the endings of books but this one really kept me guessing right to the end.  The secrets/ information are slowly revealed at a natural pace which never seemed forced and at regular intervals which kept me intrigued and wanting to read more.’ Over the Rainbow Book Blog

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‘I found the subject matter to be incredibly thought-provoking as we dive into the world of man’s insatiable urge and obsession to find ways to live longer, no matter the money or the means. Ultimately this is a story about greed and corruption, about healers and smuggling and its setting in Botswana works like a charm. This would quite frankly make an excellent tv series!’ Novel Deelights

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‘I found this a very intriguing story, the quest for eternal youth and how far someone would go to get it … I have never read a story like this. I am not talking about the content but the style in which it is written. The pace is even through and that is what made this different for me, I quite liked it … If you like ‘seedy underbelly’ style books you will love this!’ Rambling Lisa’s Book Reviews 

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‘All the Detective Kubu mysteries have a theme that explores some aspect of the southern African context as a backdrop to the story. Michael Stanley explore the themes running through the Detective Kubu books as part of the blog tour.’  Emma the Little Book Worm

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‘As the plot unfolds the reader is left wondering how the threads all fit together. Dying to Live reminded of the classic crime novels in both its pace and construction. It took me down routes I wasn’t expecting to go while throwing red herrings onto my path along the way. A thoroughly enjoyable read, Detective Kubu definitely has a new fan!’ Bloomin Brilliant Books

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‘One of the things I was most impressed about with Dying to Live was the setting and details; the author(s) did a brilliant job at making it come to life … I was really impressed with the witch doctor subplot, which is something I found incredibly interesting (even if it was embellished!). Overall, I was completely impressed with Dying to Live and would absolutely go back and read the other novels in this series. I will be eagerly anticipating the next novel in this series!’ Clues and Reviews

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‘I found this book totally fascinating. The subject of witch doctors and the myths that surround them intrigued me, and in parts astounded me! The thought of someone breaking into a morgue to steal body parts to make potions for various outcomes was totally unbelievable but yet again very believable, So much so that I wanted to keep turning the pages.’ Wrong Side of Forty

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‘The story had a few twists where a couple of red herrings were thrown in to the mix and I think that the book was all the better for that as it helped the plot build gradually to the end.  The writing was excellent and exactly the style that I love to read, I loved the descriptive nature of the surrounding areas and how that really brought the story to life, at  times it did feel as though you were there with them.  The story really did engaged me and I highly recommend it – its a solid read and a great plot – 4 stars from me for this one.’ Donna’s book blog

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‘Stanley delivers a vigorous read with a quirky, dominant set of characters and plenty of food for thought. It’s almost as if they want their readers to have fun whilst reading, but at the same time show them some harsh realities. Well, consider me shown.’ Cheryl MM’s Book Blog

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‘So although there is a real darkness surrounding the setting and plot, it’s authentic feel and captivating characters kept me enthralled in an amazing environment that I have never been in but feel I know thanks to the  beautifully descriptive writing by this very clever writing duo … Detective Kubu is one determined and intelligent policeman and it’s impossible not to fall in love with him and his homeland.’

My Chestnut Tree Reading

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‘The story deals not only with the investigation but also takes the reader into Detective Kubu’s private life and some dramatic family issues he has to deal with.  It was also a rare treat to glimpse Botswana’s culture and scenery which acted as a great backdrop to the work of this crime solving team. Right from the first page I was completely hooked and would thoroughly recommend.’ Jo Lambert Writer

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‘I have to say I was completely abducted with this book, maybe the author put a spell on it to be fascinated with the multiple twists and interesting characters of the book, it’s a non-stoppable read! … This has been an amazing read; interesting, different and original. I recommend it you read it right now, Michael Stanely has won a new fan!’ Varietats

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‘This novel, by the authors collectively writing as Michael Stanley, is an excellent addition to the series … The picture of life in Botswana, while rather harder-edged than that presented by other writers, is presented with affection and respect and at the same time has a thoroughly authentic feel to it. There is a glossary of words, and also, since there are a substantial number of characters, a list of characters – something which some other writers could well do. Recommended.’ Promoting Crime

Reviews