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The Last Hunt

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Member Reviews

There are two interesting storylines. One set in Bordeaux with almost too much description and one set in South Africa make for an interesting crime mystery. The storyline are complex and when they finally are woven together, there's a very satisfying ending.
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This was a captivating story with flawed And realistic characters. I look forward to reading more of this series. 
Many thanks to Grove Atlantic and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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4⭐
Benny Griessel and his partner Vaughan Cupido, both captains in a South African police unit called the Hawks, are assigned with the investigation of the mysterious death of Johnson Johnson , whose body was found thrown off the luxury Rovos train. As it turned out, the victim, was an ex-member of the security forces and was working as a bodyguard accompanying a rich Dutch client.
Bordeaux, France; meet Daniel Darret he's living a quiet existence as a handyman and assistant in an antique restoring shop. 
His peaceful bubble is about to be burst by the abrupt visit of an old acquaintance, asking him once again to do a "job".
How both worlds are related?

The last hunt is the translated version of the sixth book from the serie featuring detective Benny Griessel.
One of my favorite things about this book was acquiring a little knowledge about South Africa, and Africaans language. That was one of the reasons it took me so long to get through because every time I've found myself searching an expression, a place, or a particular food. 
Running two stories in parallel without any apparent relation, then making them collide was very impressive The characterization was brilliant. I genuinely enjoyed every side story apart. My favorite character has to be captain Cupido. I am definitely checking out the previous parts of the serie.
My thanks are due to NetGalley and the publishers for allowing me to have an advanced copy of this novel.
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Having never read this author before I was drawn to the story. I will say that I did start the book twice just so I had all of the characters down, but that is just me. It is set in Cape Town. You have Captain Benny Griessel who is living with Alexa and Vaughn Capudio. Benny and Vaughn are sent to investigate a murder on a train that is expensive but run into problems from the start from other agencies who are already there. In a second story inside of this book, you have a boxer named Daniel Darret. He is struggling in his life just in life trying to make a new one for himself.
  The author weaves you through both stories and all of the different characters. He adds the political corruption of South Africa hindering their investigation. He also brings you to the personal struggle with Griessel in coming up with the courage to ask Alexa to marry, I found that to be more of a struggle for him than the case. Seemed liked he was expecting all of the political parts of that, but he was torn up about marriage, the courage to ask, there is always a possibility that your woman will say no. Daniel's story is just as strong as it helps with this book at least for me. At the beginning of this book, I was drawn to his character first then I was into all of the rest of the book. I will say that this is a very good book with really strong characters and that once you get into it you won’t want to stop.
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THE LAST HUNT

By Deon Meyer
Translated from Afrikaans by K. L. Seeger
New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2019, first Grove Atlantic hardcover 2020, $27.00.

I have had the pleasure of hearing Deon Meyer speak on a panel at the Bouchercon, the big, (usually) annual mystery readers and writers and convention. Whereas Malice Domestic celebrated the traditional mystery, Bouchercon celebrates all types of crime novels. One point from Meyer stuck with me—thrillers should have a significant amount of mystery to them. I would say the reverse is equally true; mystery should have a good dose of thriller to it. In Meyer’s case, his thrillers have significant amounts of mystery that rise in fever-pitch suspense to a thrilling conclusion. While THE LAST HUNT is not my favorite of his novels, it is a worthy entry in an impressive body of work.

Make no mistake—THE LAST HUNT, the sixth Benny Griessel novel, is a taut thriller. Meyer likes to use recurring characters from other novels in his stories, and he usually employs two or three separate plot lines that he pulls together to explosive effect. Here, we have two parallel stories that showcase the disillusionment and disappointment many in South Africa have for the current state of corruption in the country. 

Benny Griessel and his partner Vaughan Cupido are part of the Serious and Violent Crimes Unit, an elite branch of the police. They are nicknamed the Hawks. This pair of Hawks get a hot potato of a case dumped in their laps—the murder of Johnson Johnson (Is this a tip of the hat to Ed McBain?) a private protection consultant who had spent several years in another unit of the police, VIP Protection. It was a sleazy job, something that made him go private. When he did not arrive in Pretoria on the luxury Rovos train with his elderly Dutch client, suspicions are raised. When the body is found, brutally broken, it is clear that somebody on that train threw him off. Why? With slender clues and through logical reasoning, Griessel and Cupido pursue their case until they are forced to drop it and declare a murder a suicide. It is a blatant lie, but it is what the higher ups want. Again, why?

Daniel Darret is a South African, a man without a past, in Bordeaux, France. (Sharp readers will quickly recognize him.) He works in an antique furniture restorer’s shop, learning the art from a genuine master, un génie in Darret’s estimation. He is happy where he is. He has no interest in the past, in politics, or, least of all, violence. But the past kicks in his front door and demands one last sacrifice from him. This unwanted job comes with such cost, such personal anguish. Darret doubts he can do the job, even if he wished to, which he does not. Bitter circumstance forces his hand, but he has no idea that he has been compromised.

Still bitter over the loss of their investigation, Griessel and Cupido are presented with another case, this one off the books. In a nice touch of ironic parallelism, this case genuinely appears to be a suicide, but something is off. In fact, several things are off—a black BMW SUV, a peculiar mud, and a Wendy house (backyard storage building for us Yanks). They cannot quite put it together without a few breaks. When they get them, they realize who they are up against. Griessel and Cupido are sure they will be fired if they arrest the perpetrators, but they do it anyway because they are not “captured”.

Corruption has always played a significant part in his previous novels—corruption within the ANC, corruption in various state departments, personal and professional corruption. In THE LAST HUNT, a poignant title, Deon Meyer dials corruption up to eleven and rips off the knob. State capture is not merely a few politicians taking bribes. No, state capture involves the whole sale takeover of major state sectors, if not the whole state apparatus, for the purpose of vastly enriching a tiny minority of people, with the connivance and active participation of the leaders of government. In the case of South Africa, it was Jacob Zuma and the Gupta brothers who ‘captured’ the state to their vast enrichment. It is to South Africa’s great credit that Zuma was driven from office and the Guptas out of the country altogether. 

Meyer demonstrates the consequences of state capture. Infrastructure goes to hell. Institutions people depend on, like the police, are gutted. Cronyism, both in and out of government, runs rampant. Trust and faith in the state are destroyed. While Meyer wisely never mentions Zuma and the Guptas (referred disparagingly to as the ‘Zuptas’), he does present the chaos and attenuated institutions left in their wake. Many South Africans are angry and disappointed; several characters speak to this personal anguish. They ask, Is this what the Struggle was for? Is this what we fought and died for? 

In Griessel, Cupido, and Darret, no, it is not. They are not captured. In that, they—and all who are like them—are inspiration. 

reviews by K.G. Whitehurst
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The Last Hunt by Deon Meyer is a great read! A real engrossing page-turner and worth the time of a read!!
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What a fantastic rollercoaster! 

Daniel Darret lives a very quiet life in Bordeaux. He works as an assistant for Henry Lefèvre, a genius in restoring priceless seventeenth and eighteenth-century furniture. We meet him on a very hot night in August when the heat drives him from his bed. Daniel decides that a walk around the city will cool him down. As he comes around a corner, he finds a pack of youths hellbent on terrorising a woman, (Madame Lecompte). His old profession as a soldier kicks in. He manages to rescue the woman and deliver her back to the safety of her flat. But this exposure will leave him shaken.  

It’s not long after this that an old comrade from his time of fighting for the ANC contacts him. Lonnie May has travelled from South Africa on several different passports hoping that by doing so, he will manage to escape the eyes and ears of the South African security forces amongst others who he is sure are helping them out. He and several elders have formed a group called MK43 and they want Daniel, once known as Thobela Mpayipheli, to carry out one last job for them.  

Captain Benny Griessel and Captain Vaughn Cupido have been handed a very sparse docket by their superior officer, Colonel Mbali Kaleni, commanding officer of the Serious and Violent Crimes Unit, stationed in Belville. Griessel and Cupido must discover how Johnson Johnson, an ex-member of the security forces, had been murdered and his body thrown off the luxury Rovos train as it made its way from Cape Town to Pretoria. They know that he was working as a bodyguard for one of the passengers.  

With very little to go on, Griessel and Cupido manage to gather photos taken by all the passengers and through them discover two men travelling under false passports. Could these be their suspects? They also know that Johnson had phoned one of his ex-colleagues while on the train. Unfortunately, the security forces refuse to give them any information pertaining to the telephone conversation.  

Two stories are running parallel through the novel and you, as the reader, get an inkling that these are connected and will eventually collide. It’s how they do that takes you through a convoluted series of events. 

I can’t find sufficient words to praise Deon Meyer for this extraordinary tale of conspiracies, state capture, dirty dealings with the security forces, and the complexity of the case that Captains Griessel and Cupido must try to solve.  

The characters are so alive, so brilliantly portrayed and so believable. The addition of Daniel’s story set in France is also vividly depicted. I felt as though I could easily find my way around France, thanks to the descriptions.  

I also want to congratulate K.L. Seegers for the outstanding translation from Afrikaans into English. Nothing has been lost in translation, nothing feels stunted or not quite right. Afrikaans is a beautiful, unique language and often translating it can result in losing some of the “gems” that are irreplaceable to the language but nothing like this has happened in this instance.  

Deon Meyer, I salute you. You have written a book that is so pertinent to what is happening in South Africa at present. I don’t want to spoil it for others by giving away any spoilers, but the plot is so plausible and entirely relates to many aspects of what’s happening in the country at the moment.   

Rony 

Elite Reviewing Group received a copy of the book to review.
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Most engrossing story of the professional and domestic life of two Afrikaans detectives who are called upon to investigate the death of a man fallen from a train. The dialogue as written is in South African English, which is English with a smattering of words from some of the many racial entities that make up South Africa as is common in many other countries in the world. The different characters involved, and the dialogue provides a good flavour of the country, its peoples and politics that a casual visitor may not appreciate. The plot as it develops follows many different strands and becomes more complex and exciting as it goes on involving malicious politics and vested interests that needs to be ruthlessly protected in a apparently corrupt society that is SA.
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Completely wonderful ... I’d heard the name Meyers as a good detective story writer ... and he is! Benny and Cupido are partners in Afrikaners police force ... taking on a duff recent, badly investigated  case they dig in deep and discover something entirely unthought of ... that he guy who was murdered had a different earlier life ... the second stream of storyline, equally compelling and more succinct finally joins up at the end too - the tension of wondering how the two streams are coming together in fact adds to the tension of the novel ..very impressive and I will be digging out other Benny and Cupido earlier novels... Meyers is terrific.
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I found this book to be fascinating. It is an unusual book in that there are disparate storylines that seem to not necessarily be connected but in the end they all intertwine and come together in a startling conclusion. I found the book to be very readable and fascinating. I thought the beginning was a bit slow but once I go into the plot lines it was absolutely unputdownable. 
It was the first Deon Meyer that I read but will certainly not be the last. The characters are believable and become very real, and more than that, they are good decent people, the kind you'd like to know.
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Great storytelling in a book with mystery, suspense and action. Very well written, excellent characters, setting and plot. The only problem is the side stories, as there is a large number of pages that have nothing to do with the main story, like a marriage proposal.
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Johnson Johnson used to be a cop, then he worked for himself as a security adviser and now he is very dead. Captain Benny Griessel and partner Captain Vaughan Cupido are asked to work the case when the original team fail to come anywhere near to solving it and find far more than they had bargained for. 

At the same time Daniel Darret is visited unexpectedly by an old friend at his home in France which worries him as he has been living under the radar, or so he thought, for the past decade in the beautiful and peaceful Bordeaux region hiding from a past he tries not to think about in any great detail. 

This is not a quick read but it is a brilliant one. Griessel and Cupido work so well together and their boss and the rest of the team fit seamlessly into the police procedural aspects of the book which, in this instance, are the slightly less tense parts of the story.

Daniel's tale is different; he has a past which puts him in grave danger in the present and should be a bad guy. Deon Meyer has written him in such a way however, that he is instead someone you want to succeed in his new life in the simple ways he has planned out for himself. The parts of the book covering his storyline are tense, fast moving and definitely heartstopping in places. I was relieved to return to Benny and Vaughn's chapters but anxious to know how he was doing and what would happen next. 

Added to this were the aspects of Griessel and Cupido's private lives which provided some light relief but naturally concerned them both deeply. The outcomes were never certain in any of the three interwoven storylines but all came together in a shocking but satisfying final few chapters that I didn't see coming at all.

I was able to read an advanced copy of this book thanks to NetGalley and the publishers in exchange for an unbiased review and would recommend it unreservedly to anyone who wants a slightly deeper and more involved storyline than is usually found in this genre.
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Another winning thriller in a series featuring Bennie Griessel and Vaughn Cupido, two members of an elite police force in South  Africa  They take on a cold case, the murder of an ex-cop, and there is an additional plot line involving corrupt police and politicians, and a planned assassination. Throw in a little romance and you have another great book from Deon Meyer.

This book is a translation from Afrikaans, and some of the references were unfamiliar to this Western reader. But the intricate story line, likeable but flawed characters, along with the unfamiliar and interesting setting drew this reader in. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an advanced e-book in exchange for an honest review.
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Unexpected and great story, translated from Afrikaans it chronicles the struggle of the South Africa to live up to the promise of the Mandela era. With corruption rife the Hawks ( special operations group) pride themselves as not being "captured" or corrupted, are landed a peculiar case of a murder on a luxury train. Another thread follows Daniel and his life in Bordeaux, what is the connection? This a well written thriller, as it switches from story to story the gaps get shorter as the tension builds. It is difficult to say too much without spoiling, except you won't be disappointed. Try it.
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A solid thriller, well written and gripping. It's the first story I read by this author and won't surely be the last.
I appreciated the well thought cast of characters and the storytelling.
Recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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A truly excellent novel. Two separate threads, one a police procedural, one an international thriller, come together in a very satisfying conclusion. While this could be enjoyed as a stand-alone, having the background of reading the previous titles by this author will increase the reader's understanding of the  principle characters. I don't understand why Deon Meyer isn't more popular in the US, as he's certainly a better writer than most of the authors on the best-sellers list! Many thanks to NetGalley and Atlantic Monthly for access to the eARC. This is one of the best novels I've read in a very long time!
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One of my most favorite things about NetGalley is being introduced to new authors  I never would have found without it.  TheLast Hunt by Deon Meyer is in this category and I’m happy to report it won’t be the last book I ever read by this author.  A fabulous thriller.  Daniel Darren is an assassian who has made a quiet life for himself in France after the Struggle in South Africa.  A past supporter of the current president, he is troubled by the corruption which has overtaken the South African government and resulted in the failed democracy.  He is contacted by one f his old colleagues who convinces him to come out of “retirement”  to take advantage of the president’s visit to France and kill him.  The Last Hunt is the wild story about the planning and implementation of this conspiracy. My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me the opportunity to read this book prior to its publication.
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A police procedural set in South Africa? Said procedural intercut with a Day of the Jackal-like political assassination plot? It was a delight! The cultural norms and history of South Africa spiced up both of the plot lines. Villains and heroes kept swapping positions and the investigation the death of a former secret service agent leads toward political corruption on a scale that is turning South Africa into a classic kleptocracy. Concurrently, an old fighter from the ANC days is drafted to make one more sacrifice for the Cause. Spy craft and technique vie with very human doubts and fears among all of the characters. In The Last Hunt, Deon Meyer gives us all of the above in spades. A great read.
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I have to start with saying, this was originally published in another language, under the name 'Prooi" and so the beginning, as you delve deep into the workings of these two interesting detectives, you may struggle with the writing, but don't loose faith in the continuity, as it does NOT disappoint. After page 78, I was hooked. 

Deon Meyer is a brilliant author. He has been on my TBR for a LONG time, and i have to admit, my lack of exposure prevented me from opening one. That is, until now. I am so glad I did. He absolutely has a new fan. 

The detective combo was great, even with the whole situation falling to pieces. The descriptions were fantastic, and I could envision the entire works playing out in front of me. The plot had a great flow, and I almost felt like I was opening a 2020 Agatha Christie. Our subject is thrown from a train, an Ex-cop, Johnson, and our duo detectives get pulled into a case they are less then thrilled to become involved in, two brilliant cops who have enjoyed their more simple lives on holiday.Their job is to find out what happened.  Were they working a murder? Or, is there more that weaves these two men intricately into this story.

I would absolutely recommend this book to other readers. The flow is wonderful, the descriptions with a touch of cultural beauty and the suspense make this worthy of your time. 

*Thank you NetGalley, The Publisher, and Deon Meyer for allowing me a Free Copy, in exchange of an honest review.
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The Last Hunt by Deon Meyer is a brilliant police procedural thriller. I am an avid fan of Mr. Meyer and have read all his books and reading this one was like coming home to family.

The story is complex and mature and very relevant to South Africa today. It’s easy to make the connections through his referencing yet it remains entertaining. 

I loved the settings of the books – having visited Cape Town, Paris and Amsterdam regularly, I love seeing those connections between people, place and event.

The character development bounces along through the personal challenges the main characters face, but it’s a smooth bounce. I have “grown up” with Bennie and Vaughn and they’re like my uncles now. The supporting characters add such a delicious flavour to the pot and I love them all.

A resounding “YES!” from me, and I look forward to the next one – I have a vested interest in Bennie and Vaughn’s love life!

#netgalley #thelasthunt #deonmeyer #groveatlantic
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