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?
Extract – Chapter 8
Oteng and Kenosi’s journey proceeded smoothly for the first hour, and Kenosi reported in and confirmed their position at regular intervals. As he drove along the two-lane A2, flanked on each side by a cattle fence, Oteng thought there had to be something wrong with the road’s design, judging by the number of decomposed cows lying on the side.
He laughed. ‘The fence is better at keeping cows on the road than away from it. Must be hard to see a cow on the road in the middle of the night.’
Kenosi didn’t respond.
He’s in one of his moods, Oteng thought and concentrated on the road ahead.
The traffic was light, and what there was passed them at the first opportunity, so it wasn’t hard for Oteng to spot the white SUV behind them. It kept its distance, dropping out of sight from time to time, but then it would appear again in the distance. Maybe it’s just travelling at the same speed as we are, he thought, but he was suspicious. It didn’t seem right.
He glanced at Kenosi, who was staring straight ahead.
‘I think maybe we’re being followed. There’s a white SUV behind us. It’s been keeping pace with us for five minutes or so.’
Kenosi checked his watch. ‘We’re right on schedule. Slow down and see if it passes.’
Oteng slowed down, and the SUV dropped back again.
‘You’d better alert control,’ Oteng said.
‘It’s just about time to report in anyway.’ At first, Kenosi didn’t reply. Then he said, in a voice harsh with tension, ‘Slow down, Jake. Keep both your hands on the wheel. If you try anything, I promise I’ll kill you.’
Aghast, Oteng glanced at him. Kenosi had his automatic pointed straight at Oteng’s head. Although it was almost impossible to believe, Oteng knew at once what was going on – Kenosi was hijacking the vehicle and the diamonds. The white SUV must be his support.
Kenosi reached over and yanked Oteng’s gun from its holster.
Oteng’s mind was racing. What could he do? Very quickly he decided that he shouldn’t do anything. The rules were clear – if you were in a life-threatening situation, cooperate. An agent’s life was worth more than the valuables being transported, even if it was a crate full of diamonds.
‘Why are you doing this, Salekany? You know you can’t get away with it. Everyone will know it was you. This is Debswana you’re robbing. They’ll hunt you down like a jackal.’
‘Shut up! Shut up and just do what I say.’
Oteng could see in the mirror that the SUV was tailing them now, just a few vehicle lengths behind.
‘Slow down. We’ll turn off to the left just ahead here. Slow down!’
Even with the warning, Oteng nearly missed the turn. It was just a dirt track leading off the main road into the scrub, probably heading to a cluster of homes too small even to be called a village. As he bumped off the main road, Oteng glanced at the control panel. Surely Naledi had realised by now that something was wrong? But there was no alert from her emergency alarm. With a sinking feeling, he realised it must have failed, or more likely, been disabled somehow. So, no alert had gone to control. He could feel sweat breaking out on his forehead. He glanced at Kenosi and saw his face was also damp.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
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.