A Deadly Covenant
We’ve finished the first draft of the next Detective Kubu mystery, titled A Deadly Covenant. It’s set in the northwest of Botswana, where the Kavango River spreads out into the Okavango Delta, then disappears into the Kalahari Desert. While digging a trench for a new pipeline for the local chief’s water project, a contractor unearths a human skeleton. Pathologist Ian MacGregor and the young Detective Sergeant Kubu are sent to investigate. They expect a cold case, because the skeleton is likely ancient. However, they discover much more than they bargained for.
In the first place, the skeleton turns out to be just one of a whole group of Bushmen who were violently killed many years before. Then, an elder of the village is murdered in his sleep. The local police suspect a Bushman who mysteriously arrived at the burial site and eventually arrest him. A revenge killing, perhaps? Next the wife of a prominent farmer who mysteriously disappeared many years before dies, apparently taken by a crocodile while communing with the water spirit, Mami Wata. She was thought to be blackmailing the chief about the water project, which she claimed Mami Wata strongly disapproved of. However, MacGregor is convinced that she too was murdered.
When the international press gets hold of the Bushman massacre, Kubu’s boss, Jacob Mabaku, is sent to deal with the situation. However, every suspect has an alibi for at least one of the murders, and the two policemen doubt there was collusion.
Eventually, as the detectives apply pressure, a covenant made many years earlier begins to unravel and the finger-pointing begins, everyone trying to save their own skin. But how do the Bushman murders many years before link to the recent murders? And how safe are the policemen themselves in the developing crisis?
Facets of Death has been shortlisted for the Best Investigator Silver Falchion at Killer Nashville!
Brilliant audiobook read by Ben Onwukwe also available now worldwide
Listen to a trailer of the first chapter:
‘Facets of Death is easily one of the best heist novels I’ve read since Gerald Browne’s classic 11 Harrowhouse’ – BookPage starred review.
The Times and Sunday Times Crime Club chose Facets of Death as a Pick of the Week
Facets of Death is set in the late 1990s when Kubu first joins the Botswana CID as a raw detective. While he’s trying to be accepted by the current staff and to make a role for himself in the CID, a massive diamond heist takes place on the road from Jwaneng — home of the world’s richest diamond mine.
It’s immediately clear that this is no opportunistic robbery. The mine has a complicated security scheme in place, and Kubu and his boss, Assistant Superintendent Mabaku, immediately suspect an inside job. The robbers systematically eliminate all the witnesses, and then they are killed by the South African police, leaving the detectives with nothing to go on.
Kubu and Mabaku are sure they can solve the case if only their contacts can stay alive long enough to point them in the right direction. However, when one of the mine’s senior managers becomes the next victim, they are forced to set a trap for the crime’s mastermind. If it fails, their careers are over – in Kubu’s case before it’s even begun.
More good news on the Audiobook front, A Death in the Family is now available worldwide in audio.
‘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 Sigurdardottir
Dead of Night on sale. Kindle Australia and New Zealand special for August only 99c!
When her friend Michael Davidson goes missing while researching a National Geographic story on rhino poaching and rhino-horn smuggling, investigative journalist Crystal Nguyen heads to Africa to try to find him and to finish his story. But within a week she’s been hunting poachers, been hunted by their bosses, and been arrested in connection with a murder. And everyone is after a briefcase full of money that she doesn’t want, but can’t safely get rid of. She comes to realise how little she knows about Africa and war between the poachers and the conservation officers.
What she does know is that she’s determined to find Michael and that she’s committed to preventing a planned major operation in South Africa to secure a huge number of rhino horns. She goes undercover in Vietnam, trying to discover the truth before she’s exposed by the local mafia. Discovering the plot behind the money is only half the battle. Now she must convince the South African authorities to take action before it’s too late, both for the rhinos and for her.
In this stand-alone thriller, Michael Stanley, author of the award-winning Detective Kubu mystery series, introduces an intriguing new protagonist, and at the same time exposes one of the most vicious conflicts of southern Africa with its Asian puppet-masters.