Review: Deon Meyer – 7 Days

After I’d finished the excellent Trackers last month I had the choice of either reading some of Meyer’s earlier books or his latest, 7 Days. His most recent book won, mainly because of the tempting blurb and I was once more impressed by the plotting skills of this excellent writer.

The South African Police Services receive an e-mail written by a sniper who threatens to kill a policeman every day until the murder of Hanneke Sloet is brought to justice. Sloet was an ambitious young lawyer who was found murdered in her new apartment with a single stab wound to her chest. When a policeman is shot in the leg, it is clear that a sniper intends to carry out his threat and Benny Griessel is assigned to the reopened case. Greissel is a recovering alcoholic, with a girlfriend who is in the process of falling off the wagon. In seven days he has to find the killer of Hannah and keep himself away from the bottle, while his colleague Captain Mbali Kaleni tries to track down the sniper.

The idea of sniper targeting policeman is a bold premise and one that has been addressed in crime fiction before – most notably McBain’s Cop Hater. However, Meyer brings a fresh approach to the subject by linking it to an old unsolved murder investigation. As I would expect from Meyer, the book was well plotted, full of twists and turns as potential suspects were examined and then cleared. The murdered lawyer dominates the book, which shows the power of good characterisation as we only see her personality through the eyes of others.

Benny Griessel and his developing relationship with the singer, Alexa, form an interesting subplot. Like in Mons Kallentoft’s Autumn Killing, we get a realistic portrayal of the effects of alcohol dependency, although Benny seems to be coping well with staying dry. Captain Mbali Kaleni, the woman in charge of finding the sniper I found to be less engaging, perhaps because her backstory was developed in a previous book, Thirteen Hours, which I haven’t yet read.

This book had a different feel to Trackers. It was slower paced and without the multiple narratives that made Trackers such an unusual read. Nevertheless it was an enjoyable read with an interesting and surprising resolution.

I received a copy of the book from the publishers. The book has also been reviewed at Eurocrime,

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15 thoughts on “Review: Deon Meyer – 7 Days

  1. Sarah – So glad you liked this. I really do like the way Meyer approaches characterisation, setting and and so on, even for his faster-paced plots. I’d already had this one on my TBR list and it’s just been anchored there…

  2. this one sounds more like my speed. I don’t care for the various narratives, etc. The major criticism I have for this writer is that he seems to write as if his books will be turned into movies (there is one in the works I read). No surprise there since he used to write TV scripts.

  3. This review really makes me want to read Deon Meyer, but I want to start with the earlier books. Which means I have to find copies. Probably early next year. My reading plate is full right now.

    • Hi Tracy, I would be tempted to start with the later ‘Trackers’ which was my first read of Meyer and very enjoyable even though I hadn’t read any of his earlier books.

  4. Definitely sounds like a good read. It’s been on my TBR list (sigh) for awhile. I read 13 Hours and couldn’t put it down. At the risk of sounding iconoclastic here, I do not think one has to read the prior books in the series. I found that 13 Hours was fine on its own. It doesn’t hurt to read the earlier books in the series, but it’s not a necessity.

    • I agree Kathy. I have bought second-hand some of Meyer’s earlier books but will read them in whatever order. I also agree about the ‘unputdownability’ of these books.

  5. Pingback: The Best of October’s Reading « crimepieces

  6. Pingback: Glenn Harper and Sarah Ward Review 7 Days by Deon Meyer | Books LIVE

  7. Pingback: Review: Seven Days, by Deon Meyer | The Game's Afoot

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