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Publisher: Little Brown & Co. / Time Warner
Release Date: 2004
ISBN: 0316935492
Format Reviewed: Hardcover
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Genre:   Suspense
Reviewed: 2004
Reviewer: Barbara Buhrer
Reviewer Notes:  

Heart of the Hunter  
By Deon Meyer

    Thobela Mpayiphelu is a 6 ft three giant nicknamed Tiny. He has been a foot soldier for the struggle against apartheid, an assassin for the KGB, and an enforcer for the drug boss of South Africa. He has turned his back on all of this to lead a quiet peaceful life working at a BMW motorcycle agency. He has found love with Miriam Nzululwazi and her young son, Pakamile. He is satisfied with this life until the daughter of an old friend, Johnny Kleinjes, appeals for his help. Her father has been kidnapped and is threatened with death unless he gives the kidnappers a hard disc, which contains damaging information about the State. She has 72 hours to bring the disc to them. Physically handicapped, she is unable to travel. Her father had left instructions that she contact Thobela if she was ever in trouble. Thobela is reluctant to leave his new life, but being an honorable man, feels he must repay his debt to Johnny.

    His attempt to fly to his destination is blocked by government agents, who want the disc. He must find alternate means of transportation. He appropriates a BMW motorcycle from the agency where he works, and begins a wild journey across the backcountry of South Africa, pursued by the nation's security forces, which constantly blocks his way. There are underlying forces at work at the Presidential Intelligence Unit headed by Janine Mentz. Reporter Allison Healy writes the saga of Thobela's journey, which makes him into a hero, and rallies motorcyclists from all over to attempt to help him. Allison probes into the reasons for the government's actions and discovers deeply hidden secrets.

     Set in South Africa, this book presents to the reader a cast of characters with difficult and unusual names, an unfamiliar country, a complicated history of the nation and its many tribal factions. Once the reader has overcome these hurdles, the story absorbs and captures his undivided attention.

      The narration of Thobela's trek across South Africa to accomplish his mission is vivid, drawing the reader into his travail. The political maneuvering throughout and its consequences keeps the reader in doubt about who the real culprit is and what his motives are. The mental struggle of Thobela to keep his past dark personality in check against the forces pressuring him is thoughtful and understanding. The episode of the motorcyclists’ uprising adds a brief light moment. The reader is given an excellent picture of the stuggle in South Africa.

      The descriptions of the country are very vivid and breathtaking.

     This is a very suspenseful thriller, which keeps the reader turning the pages to learn the next development.