Listed below is a review of Zulu by Caryl Ferey, courtesy of Tamara Brown in Circulation.
"As per the synopsis (via Amazon.com), and the production the company, the novel mirrors description. The work is a complex and layered who-done-it? that proves to be a page-turner; one most likely will not want to put down.
"I was captivated by the tale of lead character, Ali Neuman from his introduction at the beginning of the work, to the end scene that moved me in such a way as to warrant an act of violence (not) in my own home! I threw the book across the space, sighed, then immediately retrieved it and began reading again.
"A Cape Town police office of Zulu origin, whose past well informs his present, molds him into a stoic yet shrewd detective who is both feared and loved by enemies and contemporaries alike. Really, to speak more on Neuman would spoil. The man is shrouded in mystery and even the reader is privy to only so much. The reader doesn’t fully understand him until the end of the novel (hence the book tossing).
"Brian Epkeen who is an Afrikaner detective, who womanizes and has an ex-wife and son who despise him, is a colleague and friend of Ali. The two (along with another couple of police) work together throughout much of the novel, in tandem and alone, to solve the crime of the two white, female co-eds found brutally murdered.
"The tale overall is told from many points of view but premiere narrators are Ali and Brian.
"Second-tier characters come into play as the story progresses, as the mystery unfolds, and as new suspects/victims are uncovered. The sudden change of voice with each chapter, and sometimes within chapters, works because the movement of the plot rates and sets the pace of the novel.
"It is literally a page-turner that will have you reading well into the night.
"When looking at the reviews done by readers on different book-sites, I must say that I am in agreement with them, that this is one of the most violent books I have ever read. But it is a violence-laden tale with truth and reality that is not just some simple conjure of a man with an imagination.
"The horrors shown are horrors witnessed throughout history—particularly in this region, in this country, in this continent… and continents abroad (hello slavery!).
"But there is a lushness of atmosphere and tone that is granted via the characters’ telling, and the settings as perceived through the narrators’ eyes holds you to it, familiarizes you with the landscape and soon you become a part of it. It is thick with atmosphere, with sweat, smell, light, darkness; it is the jungle inside the confines of a concrete construct.
"There are many, many, MANY parallels that can be drawn from the countryside and desert to the modernization of the city and 20th century “civilization” of the people, of the terrain and beyond.
"And speaking of modernity, behold the true nature of the novel. Statistics and facts and figures given throughout the text inform both prose and dialogue, align the story and its characters’ investigation with actual truths via facts that expose the AIDS epidemic and fallout from the government’s handling of it, and give insight to the drug-testing done to millions of Africans in the wake of Apartheid, and even before Nelson Mandela was elected into office."
To view additional books in the Staff Picks display, please see the guide available here.