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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Review: Death of the Mantis

Title: Death of the Mantis
Author: Michael Stanley
Page Count: 448 pages
Publisher: Harper
Genre: mystery
Copy for review obtained from my public library

Cover Summary:
In the southern Kalahari area of Botswana--an arid landscape of legends that speak of lost cities, hidden wealth, and ancient gods--a fractious ranger named Monzo is found dying from a severe head wound in a dry ravine. Three Bushmen surround the doomed man, but are they his killers or there to help? Detective David "Kubu" Bengu is on the case, an investigation that his old school friend Khumanego claims is motivated by racist antagonism on the part of the local police. But when a second bizarre murder, and then a third, seem to point also to the nomadic tribe, the intrepid Kubu must journey into the depths of the Kalahari to uncover the truth. What he discovers there will test all his powers of detection . . . and his ability to remain alive.

This is the third book in the Detective Kubu series, and I've read all three so far.  It's pretty rare for me to be able to say that I'm current in a series, but there you go!  I will say here at the onset that this isn't my favorite book in the trilogy so far, but it was still good and I enjoyed reading the story.

This series is set in modern-day Botswana, and the description of the setting is realistic, but not overdone; you can tell the writing team behind the books really loves the country and that love for the good, the bad, and the ugly comes across in the writing.  Each book addressed a different facet of life in Botswana (the first one dealing with the diamond trade and the second in the country's heritage as a former colonial holding) and this one is no different, with the focus this time being on the often strained relationship between the Bushmen (indigenous people) and the government of Botswana.

I admit that this book was a little slow to get started.  Detective Kubu is dealing with a case that's not really his to be dealt with, and the back and forth between the characters did seem to hold the story back in the beginning.  Things definitely picked up though, and by the end everything had come together nicely; I am a fan of this series so I was willing to invest the time.

I don't recommend starting here with the series just because the first two books were a little longer and so had more details and character development, but this book could be read as a standalone if one was so inclined.  It's a good in-between book, with an interesting setting and story. Good times!

Overall Rating:

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