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Seven Days by Deon Meyer
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Seven Days (edition 2012)

by Deon Meyer

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10012120,775 (3.78)17
Member:bookstothesky
Title:Seven Days
Authors:Deon Meyer
Info:Atlantic Monthly Press (2012), Hardcover, 320 pages
Collections:Your library, Books, Read in 2012, Recently Read
Rating:****
Tags:south african mystery, mystery, read 2012, read

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Seven Days by Deon Meyer

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English (9)  Danish (2)  Dutch (1)  All languages (12)
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Uninspired.

Deon Meyer has a huge following, so I had expected more from my first Meyer novel. He is one of very few authors writing in Afrikaans and I was looking forward to getting a feel for life in South Africa from his point of view. Several of us read this for a book group, as the author will be visiting our literary festival in March, but we were unanimous in our disappointment. One lady, herself hailing from South Africa, commented that she couldn't see how anyone from other parts of the world could appreciate the nuances that were buried within the writing. I thought I'd followed most of the translations until I reached the glossary at the end, when I realised just how many meanings had gone over my head. (why are glossaries at the end, now that we all read using Kindles - it's too late to discover them by the time you've finished the book?!)

Bennie Griessel is your classic, cliched, recovering alcoholic policeman. He is forced to reopen a cold murder case when a gunman threatens to shoot one policeman per day, for every day the murder remains unsolved. The crime involves a lawyer, Hanneke Sloet, who was working on a huge case involving the empowerment of blacks and with possible shady dealings.
Griessel has troublesome teenage children and a love interest who is also a recovering alcoholic. During the Seven Days of the title he must juggle the further demands of trying to keep his girlfriend from the bottle, persuade his son that he doesn't want to get a tattoo and come to terms with the hulk that seems to be his daughter's boyfriend. But I just couldn't drum up any interest in whether he succeeded or not.

The eventual outcome of the who-done-it was disappointing and aspects of the case continue to confuse me.
I was constantly wondering about the ethnicity of the characters, which would be obvious just by their names to a native South African, and I didn't feel I learned much about policing in South Africa, other than that it was corrupt.
No more Deon Meyer for me. ( )
  DubaiReader | Dec 29, 2013 |
Finally Meyer has stumbled. While this title is another sound entry in the police procedural genre by a very good writer, it is not this author's best work. It is most common that the second entry in a series is much weaker than the first. This title breaks that mold in that it is the third in the series. Set in South Africa, this entry in the Benny Griessel series is a solid entry among mystery/thriller titles and reminds me very much of the Martin Beck Scandicrime series. In this book the author delves deeper into the morass of South African politics and the economic growth of some parts of the economy and the stagnation of others that is so often the cause of political unrest and social and cultural discontent. Reading these mysteries makes the reader think they have obtained a front row seat in the arena of public thinking, opinion, and action in the South Africa of today. Rather than scaring a reader away from wanting to visit this turbulent country, these books make the place appear intriguing and fascinating for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which is the struggle its citizens to make the place a safe democratic society ruled by law. This book doesn't quite get to the level of suspense that the previous two books do, but it is exciting enough that it kept me reading whenever possible for three days, so I highly recommend it as well as the previous works in this series. In fact I can't wait to read the next work by this author.

Scandicrime may be sexy right now, but I find it sad that more people aren't reading this author's work. He is definitely an up-and-coming author. Those readers who like Michael Connelly, the Kate Atkinsosn - Jackson Brody series, and the Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo - Martin Beck series will like this series. ( )
  benitastrnad | Dec 17, 2013 |
Dean Meyer delivers another great entry in the Benny Griessel series. Reading about South African crime, policing, and politics from a South African perspective feels a bit like playing armchair, world-traveling detective. As usual Meyer conveys the tension that flows just under the civilized surface in Cape Town, while also imbuing the city with warmth, humanity, and hope. Somehow, even though Meyer's books focus on the worst crimes you can imagine, he makes me want to visit SA. While the South African aspects of the book are foreign to me, Benny is a universal character - recovering alcoholic, trying to come to terms with his ex-wife and her new husband, struggling to connect with his kids as they enter adulthood.

In Seven Days, Benny is re-investigating the case of a beautiful lawyer who has been stabbed to death in her apartment. The police are accused of botching the case the first time around, now Benny is trying again. To encourage the police to act quickly, a sniper starts shooting members of the police - one a day until the killer is caught. Given Benny's history, he runs about even odds of either solving the case or falling off the wagon.

Although the sniper plot pushes the investigate forward, the plot doesn't progress as smoothly. Other Meyer books have kept be glued to the pages all the way to the end. With Seven Days, I found it easy to put down and come back later. Still a good book, but not the most compelling of the series. It's definitely worth reading, but if you are new to Meyer's work, don't start with this book. ( )
  justmelissa | Nov 21, 2013 |
"South Africa is just not as sexy a place as Scandinavia" - Deon Meyer in reply to a question as to whether or not South Africa (SA) was taking over from Scandinavia as the new home of crime fiction (http://bit.ly/X0OCzu). To my mind, he is not making a bad fist of trying on its behalf.
In 7 Days, two investigations are intertwined; one into the murder of a female lawyer, the other in pursuit of the sniper who is shooting policemen as a result of their failure to reveal the female lawyer's murderer! As though they know! Meyer's plots are rarely straight forward, and there is always excitement and suspense. In this, Captain Benny Griessel, a man with his own demons, is landed the task of solving the first crime before more policemen are shot, so it's a race against time to solve a case that had previously ground to a halt. Plus there is a subplot to boot, namely Griessel's relationship with an alcoholic female singer. What this book doesn't quite do is give a broad picture of modern SA like some of his other titles, it being more focused on the police procedural aspect. But a good read with a good ending. ( )
  ebyrne41 | Dec 10, 2012 |
Not quite up to the standard of the previous procedural book, Thirteen Hours, but still a much better than average read, in my opinion. There is some quite powerful writing here, such as the thoughts of Benny (an alcoholic who's been dry about 2/3 of a year) after being kissed by a woman who's been drinking--and he can taste the drink. The scene where Benny is recognized as a fellow musician/player by the top bass guitar god in South Africa struck a chord with me (if you'll pardon the pun) as I had almost the exact experience except substitute tennis for bass guitar; the graciousness of the top player has stuck with me for many years. Anyway, those are but a couple of scenes out of many that are quite good in this book. However, when it's all said and done, I think I'm ready for a POV character that's different from Benny, and I hope Deon Meyer is too.
This book has earned a very solid ( )
  bookstothesky | Nov 24, 2012 |
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In order to stop a shooting spree against cops, homicide detective Bennie Griessel is given the thankless task of solving a cold case that has no leads.

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