Anyhow the horsemen rode out of the desert through the diamond fields to the gold mines and beyond. Although their number has thinned out in Killer Country their ride continues in a reversal of colonial expansion as the killers head from Jozi to the Mothercity. These are the sort of games writers play now and again. There are other little interludes slipped into the novel, like doodles in the margin, that almost but not quite slip out of the memory of the book because they are not part of the main story line.
Two pages, tie up a loose end, the writing spectacularly graphic, but the event has very little to do with the current action. But speed leaves everything a blur and sometimes you need to stop to leave an image that may only tangentially relate to the story and its plot.
That said, as you know, one of the stories that was left dangling at the end of Payback was that of Paulo and Vittoria. Had the book been a stand-alone that would have been fine, but with the idea of the trilogy there was an opportunity to tie up loose ends. There were allegations of torture about to be made against him by Paulo and Vittoria. All this is by the by stuff but I hope it serves to give the reader a little rush.
OK, we have to get to the land sometime, literal, figurative and spiritual. Can I ask a cluster of questions and you unravel as you will? Here are puzzling things to this innocent reader. First, the main character Mace. You really do seem to relish putting him through the wringer. He gets kidnapped and beaten up in the first book, now he gets mugged and shot. What all this amounts to verges on negligence — unless the forces of evil are so stacked up that, like a Greek chorus, he is forced into the role of helpless bystander.
Is this a new kind of non-hero?
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And finally for this round: But he likes American music and American movies; in fact he is a connoisseur of both. So, tell us a bit about Mace, and the enigmatic Spitz—the—Trigger, who are strangely alike, after all…. He is married to a beautiful woman, he has a beautiful daughter both of whom he loves dearly. He has a smashing house in a prime location in an extraordinary city.
And some of that may be happening here and it may not. In fact his destiny and the very city he lives in seem to be against him. Mace is an action man but to what end? In addition Mace is operating in a revenge tragedy where, convention has it, so much gets smashed up.
Here was the way I understood life. Of course with the Elizabethan revenge tragedy comes plenty of blood, horrific violence, sensational events, ghosts, and a bloodthirsty climax. What more could you ask for? Although there is not really anything I can add to him. Everything went onto the page. They both have spent a large part of their lives out of the country. Spitz was an East German trained hitman operating in Europe for MK although this is only indirectly alluded to in his backstory, you have to piece it together. As you mention his time outside has added some strange details to his character.
I see him as an all round kind of guy. Your well equipped, self sufficient hitman. Except to say that maybe he was blinded by his infatuation and got led astray. Hmm, not an unfamiliar story, a well intentioned hitman with taste. Country music and country country seem to slide into one another at points. Familiar territory is good. No connection to territory is bad. Old man Visser, advocate Niemand the deed keeper, Mace, Obed, Pylon in a way, all connected to the land. Telman, Sheemina, and Spitz, all free floating.
And Telman is really one sorry dude; I think you paint him in the most unsympathetic colours — except you give him good taste in pictures. What a repulsive creep, he almost sounds real. Not sure why, Joe. In Telman I wanted a complete slimeball with no redeeming features so that in comparison he would make some of the other slimeballs look angelic. The land thing again. I have to ask you about Oumou. I cannot recall a novel where one of the most sympathetic characters in the series — she makes it easily into the second volume — has such a rough ride.
Is she another silent witness marked out for the blind vagaries of fate? What are you saying about this African saint with the sublime pottery and tolerant demeanour? I agonised over it for a long time. Some of those who read the manuscript suggested I change it. When the book was published a friend phoned late one Saturday night to ask me how I could have done that? A third SMSed two words: But the Oumou question does open the doors to a range of issues, and I suppose some of this has come through in the reviews. On the other hand it is just a crime novel and hectic things happen in crime novels.
You do the two things equally well, city roads and country roads. The Spider seems suited to the city, but what goes well across the Karoo? Do the details like that just come to you, as you imagine the characters? Or do you construct the characters with the details?
The short answer is that the characters come first — often from out of nowhere. Mace Bishop — certainly as a name — came during a sojourn on the Greek island of Naxos many many years ago and lay dormant for almost two decades. Pylon sprung to mind when I needed a gunrunning partner for Mace. You know that joke about naming the child after the first thing you see after its birth.
The power that bypassed the village. All this was in an early version of Payback but never made it explicitly to the finals. Spitz sprang straight out of the country rock music, boots and all. So the characters come first but then they have to do things like drive cars, drink beer, wear Speedos, whatever. Mace needed a different sort of car but not the latest model. Hence the red Alfa Spider — a model — and the story of his infatuation with that car is told in Payback.
Only thing, the Spider is a rubbish car when it comes to reliability. But I wanted it to go like a dream, at least for the first two books. Solid Pylon demanded a solid car, hence the company owned and rather large Merc. Likewise the insistent Sheemina only felt right behind the wheel of a huge SUV. The lady had to be in control. But to get to the essence of your question: So the answer is that the details come to one.
Cars have to be specific. Readers need exact information, their imaginations need something to work on. One last round then, for the road. We had to get to her sooner or later, the bitch goddess Sheemina. I am not surprised that readers have reacted so viscerally to the Oumou issue, because she is, certainly, if not your most real female character then your most sympathetic. By the end of Killer Country , it is almost incidental that she had her hand smashed by Mace back then; her reaction so far has been so disproportionate, that her alibi has become insignificant.
Most everyone else in the book has got one, even the repulsive Telman, and Spitz tries, shame he tries, and all he gets is a blowjob from the prossie Cherildeen; and readers sense that Christa is going to grow into desirable womanhood in the next instalment. What we know is that this has to be showdown time: Our Man Mace and the almost superhuman bitch. Something really strange here; the reluctant non-hero and the bride of Frankenstein.
What does the author see, standing outside the glass door of her patio, watching as she stands barefoot on her flokati rug, sipping chilled sauvignon blanc, looking out to sea, dreaming of Mace? That was my first — quite literally — my first sense of Sheemina. When she talked she was confident, in control. Sounds all very airy-fairy I realise but sometimes this is how it happens. But then as Payback developed I began to think there was something Sheemina was hiding.
That maybe her feelings towards Mace were somewhat more complex than they seemed on the surface. It is this more complex emotion which starts to dominate Sheemina in Killer Country. Does she want revenge? What sort of revenge does she want? She has stalked him before — after all in Payback she bought his house — but now she stalks the family. And from somewhere in this darkness that shades her soul she comes up with another form of revenge. One that does not involve killing Mace but one that will cause him considerable pain. One that she hopes will destroy him in another way.
Of course by now she is out to wreck everything for Mace. Killer Country was suddenly the middle passage — albeit a turbulent middle passage — and I realised it would end with matters between them unresolved. Sheemina February are the last two words of Killer Country, and the third in the trilogy, Black Heart , opens with her. So to get back to your question, Sheemina grew for me during Payback and then deepened during Killer Country.
Also in Killer Country we see more of how she operates in the city, of her sphere of influence, and, yes, of her ruthlessness. I wanted to create the impression that Sheemina February was at home in this city of Cape Town, that she could work the system. By the end of the novel she is a very wealthy woman.
Against this background I hope readers will find that she becomes even more unsettling in Black Heart. For all those readers out there to discover, a world of nail-biting, heart stopping pleasure. Until the next one. There is a pervasive miasma of menace hanging like a dark cloud over the entire narrative.
You keep expecting it to lift, but it never does. Mart was still out there, running the show for one thing, and behind him, shadowy corridors of government. His buried treasure confiscated. The bank after his house. Oh, and all three members of Complete Security shot.
Did ever more shit happen to a nicer guy? In the earlier books the darkness edged into black comedy every now and again, but not here. And no prospect of a sequel. Were you going to end up here from the start? Did the story just drift this way? From the start — if the start is Payback — then this ending was certainly not in sight. In fact at the end of Payback there was no trilogy in sight. So it would probably be fair to say that the story drifted this way.
As for making a political statement, well, that depends on how your read the novel. And this seems to be how the book has been received. There are readers who want the story or rather the pace of the story and nothing else.
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Their comments range from: A reading of our politics. And, yes, I was making a political statement: I have become pissed off with our grubby politics and politicians. To ward this off some interviewers take refuge in the humour — such as it is. I was told by one very recently that the humour meant the book was laconic, almost tongue-in-cheek. This apparently levered it out of the darkness. We should be clear that this book is unputdownable, plot-wise, but radically disturbing on a number of other levels.
I had to go for a walk in the garden. How do you think about colour and plot? Giving Oosthuizen James Ellroy seems verging on perverse…. I like that, verging on perverse.
And I suppose that is one of the strategies of crime fiction: To have had Oosthuizen and his colleague Max Roland reading any other crime novelist — possibly with the exception of George Pelecanos — would have been too easy, it would have reduced the reading to escapism. So by having the morally corrupt read this sort of book I thought showed an interesting side to the character.
Alternatively it could be my perversity, an innate desire to make things not quite what they seem. In other words a shade of grey. Which brings us back to colour. The more I listened to it, the more I read the lyrics, the more it began to shape the story. Of course that tied in with the red rosebuds, which have been a motif throughout. Again a perverse contrast given her agenda which is far from white, if we read white in the classical Western sense as purity. It always fascinates me the way movie photographers select a colour palette and I suppose writers do the same, to a greater or lesser extent.
However, all this sounds a little deliberate. In other words it might start off being an arbitrary idea but becomes the essence of the writing. Or an essence of the plot. I suppose crime fiction plots are by their nature dark, even if there is light at the end. So, happenstance, again, dark and black.
In the end this combination of plot and colour was an attempt to give the book a resonance that I hoped added something to the story. Has there ever been such a luckless main character in a crime novel? He loses the Italians, then the German, and in this book, the Redskins. Its barely credible he still gets any new business. By pg 65 he begins to feel sorry for himself: A weird redskin … How grand was his life?
And to cap it all, the sadistic Author kills his beloved Alfa on the last page. And he loses his house.
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Nothing else can go wrong: Let the Critic issue a tongue in cheek challenge to the Author: So, no light at the end, just more layers of dark, which I guess is pretty well how it is, but no light for Mace either. So what keeps us reading in the footsteps of Mace, so to speak? Two possible reasons occur to me. The first, because we want to see how the subterranean sexual current between Sheemina and Mace plays out.
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To bolster this notion, a certain tension in the reading slackens when she gets her wings trimmed. Ah, I can hear the Author say, not so, lots of grey to Mace too. He carries our hopes even as he keeps letting them down. I have to say this is a unique way with the krimi lead character. Is there a question here? It would be perhaps whether the Author was consciously breaking the mould, or whether events just drifted this way. The hollow core of this dreadful romantic dramedy is Jay Wheeler Scott Speedman , the screw-up son of a wealthy Southern clan.
Though he seems to have a college degree, Jay works as a custodian at a psychiatric institution in Los Angeles,. Two very different action pics blast into theaters this weekend: The new contenders also have to compete with the still-formidable competition of About Last Night and Monuments Men. This weekend, the legendary Mount Vesuvius erupts again in " Pompeii ," starring Kit Harington " Game of Thrones " , Kevin Costner stars opposite Amber Heard in the spy-thriller "3 Days to Kill," and several acclaimed independent and foreign films make their way to select theaters.
As Mount Vesuvius erupts and slowly destroys the magnificent Roman province Pompeii , Milo must fight his way to Cassia Emily Browning and save them both. Anderson " Resident Evil " directs this historical action epic. In "3 Days to Kill," Kevin Costner plays a dangerous international spy determined to retire and finally spend time with his wife and daughter. With his life suddenly on the line, he gets roped back in for one last assignment that -- if successfully completed -- could save his life and allow him to walk. Into The Forest recounts the story of two sisters, played by Page and Wood, struggling to survive after the collapse of society in the not too distant future.
Page recently wrapped on the seventh installation of the X-Men franchise, X-Men: This year's fest is set to run January 30 through February 9. The fest boasts 23 world and 33 Us premieres. Check out the premiere lineup below, and the full lineup at the Sbiff website. A Year in Champagne, USADirected by David KennardA detailed portrait of winemakers and their families reveals some of the most intimate secrets behind creating the legendary bubbly beverage.
Evan Rachel Wood , As is pretty much the usual, it's about two people at odds who eventually fall in love after being brought together. This time the guy is Speedman, a "black sheep" son of a wealthy family, and the girl is not what I expected - Evan Rachel Wood playing a bit young, a bit kooky, but still quirky, fun and likeable.
The cast includes J. Simmons , Treat Williams and Kate Burton. This doesn't look that bad, but doesn't look that good either. Watch the first official trailer for Andrew Fleming 's Barefoot , originally from Yahoo: The "black sheep" son Scott Speedman of a wealthy family meets a young psychiatric patient Evan Rachel Wood who's been raised in isolation her entire life. When a young woman Evan Rachel Wood who has barely left her house meets an immature womanizer Scott Speedman , they both go on an adventure neither of them expected in Barefoot.
Roadside Attractions has released the first trailer and poster for this romantic comedy, where these vastly different individuals step out of their comfort zones to experience something new. Check out the first footage and poster for this modern romance, co-starring J. Simmons and Treat Williams , which hits theaters February The "black sheep" son Scott Speedman of a wealthy family meets a free-spirited, but sheltered woman Evan Rachel Wood.
To convince his family that he's finally straightened out his life, he takes her home for his brother's wedding where an improbable romance blooms, as she impresses everyone with her genuine, simple charms. Simmons , Treat Williams , Kate Burton ,.
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