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Trackers by Deon Meyer
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Trackers (original 2010; edition 2011)

by Deon Meyer

Series: Lemmer (2)

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146None81,444 (3.7)12
Member:martinhughharvey
Title:Trackers
Authors:Deon Meyer
Info:Atlantic Monthly Press (2011), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 400 pages
Collections:Your library, Kindle
Rating:****1/2
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Trackers by Deon Meyer (2010)

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English (18)  French (1)  All languages (19)
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
It’s hard to know how to talk about TRACKERS without giving away too many of the book’s surprises which come from both story and structure so I shall err on the side of caution. I don’t think it’s letting too much out of the bag to say that there are three distinct books here, and though the reader assumes the stories will eventually intertwine most connections are not made until almost the very end so you are really reading three independent stories. While this maintains suspense it does require more than the usual amount of small-detail retention on the part of the reader, something that proved quite challenging with the audio version of the book.

The first and most prominent of the three stories centres around a woman called Milla Strachan who, when we meet her, is just coming to the decision to leave her violent, philandering husband and their boorish, spoiled son. Although she trained to be a journalist she has not worked for many years and struggles to find a job until she spies a small newspaper advertisement. That leads to a report-writing job with a government agency. In the second book we meet a young freelance bodyguard called Lemmer who is hired for the seemingly innocuous job of escorting two endangered rhinos being smuggled into the country from Zimbabwe on behalf of a wealthy and slightly dodgy farmer. In the final book of TRACKERS we follow the trail of former policeman Mat Joubert as he starts his new job as a private investigator and takes on the case of a missing husband whose wife is unsatisfied with what she perceives to have been a fairly cursory investigation by police.

All three stories are compelling in their own right though I have to admit to finding the first one a little tough-going in parts. Although the audio narration was excellent I found the very complicated plot a little hard to follow in this format and did have to rewind quite a bit which is something I very rarely need to do. I had no such problems with the other two books within this book and perhaps for that reason I enjoyed those two stories slightly more than the first.

There are several elements which link the books, the most obvious being that each depicts some version of tracking; be it people, animals, objects or something less tangible. This could have been clumsy in a less talented author’s hands but Meyer is a terrific storyteller and manages to use this device almost without the reader noticing it’s being done. Another theme common to the stories is that the main character in each one is at something of a crossroads in his or her life and the events cause, or force, them to learn something not entirely comfortable about their own makeup. Milla Strachan’s case is probably the most dramatic of the three but these threads are all fascinating and provide part of the depth of this book.

The remainder of that depth comes from the other thing which links the books which is the ever-present commentary on life in modern South Africa. It is almost as if Meyer has written a non-fiction book underneath the fictional one in which he is depicting a year in the life of his country. Setting the main part of the story in the time leading up to the country’s hosting of the football (soccer) world cup offers scope to show how the country and its residents want to be seen on the all-important international stage, while the disparate stories within TRACKERS allow a broad cross-section of ‘routine’ lives to be depicted which helps readers build up a real picture of the country today. Again it is something you almost don’t notice until the book is finished when you suddenly realise you have such a detailed picture of the place that you feel like you could walk into the pages and feel at home.

I think I’ve only scratched the surface of all that is good about TRACKERS so can only recommend you read the book for yourselves, though I’d only recommend the audio format to seasoned listeners. It is an intelligent, compelling thriller with a fantastic range of characters and an absorbing sense of place. At a time when many successful writers seem content to write the same book over and over again Meyer is to be applauded for continuing to stretch himself and his readers.

My rating 4.5 stars ( )
  bsquaredinoz | Mar 31, 2013 |
My 2nd Deon Meyer book - I enjoyed the first and really enjoyed this one. One of the key characters Lemmer returns from Blood Safari which is my other Meyers book.

Acquired this on impulse as I'd just finished a serious N/F book, wanted an escape, and had enjoyed a spectacular (5 start) trip to S Africa earlier this year.

Puzzled me for a while because it is 3 separate books and I wondered what had happened each time one of these stories started. They are connected at the end however, loosely but not inconclusively. Just a loose end that I suspect may arise in another future book.

Great ans highly recommended read. ( )
  martinhughharvey | Nov 7, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
3.0 out of 5 stars - Complicated South African thriller is difficult to wade through and understand on audio.

The mystery is complex and involves three separate stories with a large cast of characters whose names I really never quite understood. Not seeing them in print made it more difficult to keep track of what was going on.

Lemmer is an interesting character who gets involved in a plot that includes transporting stolen rhinos, smuggled diamonds and aiding or abetting terrorists. There are spies and counterspies, gangs, and a possible US CIA agent who connect in a multilayered plot with murderous results.

I would probably have enjoyed this book more if I had read it rather than listened to it. The reader did a fairly good job of enunciating and pronouncing the names and unfamiliar places, but as no glossary came with the boxed CDs, it was hard to keep track.
I doubt I'll read another by this author. ( )
  CelticLibrarian | Jan 11, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
at this time i was not able to connect to the story and the characters and just got completly confused and was not sure who is who. i think i will have to give it another try in a while because of all the good reviews. ( )
  kakadoo202 | Dec 24, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Deon Meyer’s Trackers is an ingenious hybrid novel that marries the spy thriller to the private detective mystery with stunning success. Set in Cape Town, South Africa, the complex plot merges issues of global significance with the individual struggles of various Cape Town residents.

Trackers balances its narrative on a tripod of characters: Milla Strachan, aggrieved housewife who becomes a intelligence researcher for the PIA (Presidential Intelligence Agency) which is fighting to survive in a hostile political climate; Lemmer, on parole after serving time for manslaughter, now a bodyguard with Body Armour; and Mat Joubert, former police officer now working for Jack Fischer and Associates, a very successful private investigation firm. Each of these characters has a part to play in an international event involving an Islamic terrorist group under surveillance in Cape Town and a mysterious shipment of some unknown valuable cargo that will be smuggled into South Africa by the terrorists. While Milla is an official player in this game of intrigue, Lemmer and Joubert are unwitting participants with their own agendas. Together, their separate stories form the pieces of a puzzle with many moving parts, including South African and U.S. intelligence agencies, black rhinos smuggled in from Zimbabwe, the international shipping industry, and a missing husband.

Meyer employs a variety of styles to emphasize the shifting nature of the unfolding drama. From straight narrative to staccato intelligence reports to excerpts from Milla's personal journal, the author supplies a constant onslaught of tantalizing information that commands the reader's attention. Additionally, quotes from a tracker's manual announce major shifts in the action. And, while Strachan's and Joubert's narratives use the third-person, Lemmer's first-person account adds slightly more weight to his character. The clever end to this very thrilling tale also suggests that we will hear more from Lemmer, as well as Joubert, in the future novels.

This review is based on the very excellent audio production narrated by Simon Vance who skillfully navigates the shifting narrative terrain with an accent that adds a delicious flavor to this must-read thriller. ( )
  jmyers24 | Dec 11, 2011 |
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Stefanie SchäferTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 080211993X, Hardcover)

Lemmer’s first rule is: “Don’t get involved.” A highly skilled bodyguard with a violent, criminal past, he has settled into a quiet life in Loxton, South Africa, where the rural tranquility has helped to calm his explosive temper. But when a wealthy farmer asks for his help in smuggling a pair of rare black rhinos out of Zimbabwe (where they are murdered for their horns), he has a hard time saying no. Before he knows it, Lemmer is on a small airplane, zipping across the border, an airsickness bag in his hand and a military-grade shotgun at his feet. Soon, he will regret the trip very much.

In Trackers, internationally-acclaimed thriller writer Deon Meyer expertly weaves together Lemmer’s story with a missing person investigation and the machinations of a top intelligence agency. Wielding a phenomenal cast of characters, Meyer delves deep into the people, the breathtaking landscapes, and the politics and problems of this fascinating country. A #1 best-seller in South Africa, Trackers is an insightful novel that will take your breath away.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:47:35 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Lemmer, a highly skilled bodyguard with a violent, criminal past, has settled into a quiet life in Loxton, South Africa, where the rural tranquility has helped to calm his explosive temper. When a wealthy farmer asks for his help in smuggling a pair of rare black rhinos out of Zimbabwe (where they are murdered for their horns), he has a hard time saying no. Before he knows it, Lemmer is on a small airplane, zipping across the border, an airsickness bag in his hand and a military-grade shotgun at his feet. Soon, he will regret the trip very much.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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